Prioritize oral health in J&K

This refers to editorial “Oral healthcare in Kashmir” (DE 20.01.2020). Oral healthcare in J&K is in shambles and people only visit a dentist when they are in pain and they hardly take preventive measures. The main reason is inefficiency of Government and lack of awareness. Govt has taken oral health completely for-granted. There are no awareness campaigns about the better oral health and department of Health and Medical Education has not prioritized oral health at all.
The dearth of Dental health officers (dental surgeons) is another aspect of poor awareness. People have to spend thousands of rupees for dental treatments at private clinics which otherwise can easily be provided in Government hospitals like Sub District Hospitals or even at PHC level. Poor people hardly afford to undergo dental treatment and they are forced for tooth extractions which otherwise could be prevented through various dental techniques.
I would appeal Government to create enough posts of dental surgeons so that poor people don’t have to suffer on account of dental health. If Govt is not able to give jobs to every dental graduate then they should provide financial assistance and subsidies for starting multi-specialty dental health clinics. Govt can create self help groups(SHGs) of five to six un employed dental surgeons who can open small dental hospitals where BPL people could be treated free of cost like Delhi Government is doing. These hospitals could be linked with Government who can later on reimburse the money to SHG’s
In addition it is urged upon Government to make mandatory for every Block Medical Officer (BMO) to undertake at least 2 camps in the every health block on weekly basis so that people especially school students get to know how to prevent dental and oral diseases. It must be made mandatory for dental surgeons working in Govt hospitals to use preventative methods rather than extracting teeth of the patients.
Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat
Chairman J&K RTI Movement


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