IDA, oral health and affordable care
In the second part of our three part-interview, Indian Dental Association (IDA) President Dr Pramod Gurav talks about the main challenges facing IDA, its recent successes, its working relationship with central and state governments and its contribution to the Indian government’s plan of Oral Health for All by 2020
Question: What are the main challenges facing IDA?
Answer: A major challenge facing IDA relates to proper dental personnel resources planning and management to avoid skewed distribution. Equipping the professionals with appropriate skills to handle the expanding spectrum of oral diseases, keeping dentists abreast of the latest developments in dental science, delivery of accessible and affordable oral care to the masses, refining and reorienting dental education to meet with emerging demand, ensuring ethical dental practice, are all challenges facing IDA.
Q: Could you highlight some recent IDA successes?
A: The software developed by IDA for dental personnel resources management has been accepted by the Dental Council of India and the Union Health Ministry and is currently being implemented by the State Dental Councils across the country. This provides authentic data of dental professionals at a point of time for meaningful oral health planning. Tobacco Intervention Initiative Centres and Oral Cancer detection centres are being set up as part of the dental clinics for tobacco cessation and early detection of oral cancerous lesions.
Q: How close is IDA’s working relationship with central and state governments?
A: IDA acts as the custodian of oral health in India and closely involves itself in implementing programmes related to the oral health components in the national health programmes. Oral health has not received the attention it deserves. Towards this end, IDA has established effective links with the Government of India in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the respective state governments and the Dental Council of India, for the implementation of oral health programmes and in raising awareness about oral health and hygiene.
Q: How is IDA contrituing to the Indian government's plan of 'Oral Health for All by 2020'?
A: One of the goals of IDA is to secure optimum oral health for all. All its efforts and campaigns are directed towards this objective. Owing to the inadequate rural health infrastructure where accessibility to dental care is poor, IDA has been pioneering a strategy of prevention through awareness creation and disease prevention and implementing various programmes and projects to attain its objective which is synonymous with the ambitious plan of the government of Oral Health for All by 2020.
Q: Is this a realistic aim?
A: Frankly speaking it is not. Oral health is often neglected by a large majority giving rise to the diseases attendant on it. People visit a dentist only in the event of pain. A huge unmet treatment needs exists. Striking inequality in oral healthcare delivery system and absence of an adequate community-oriented prevention system is further aggravating the lack of reach of dental facilities in rural areas of India. Nonetheless, the endeavour is to ensure improved oral health scenario by setting goals.