Rural Round up: oral health awareness in rural India

Dr Sumit Dubey is a dentist from New Delhi, India. He specialises in Prosthodontics and Oral Implantology. He wishes to bring about oral health awareness to the most remote parts of India and has set up a self-funded campaign by the name HASNAA (Healthy Affordable Solutions Nationally for Aam Aadmi) which is for oral health awareness across the rural population of India.

Rural areas of India are prone to oral diseases more than others because a low awareness of oral health. Whilst urban India has witnessed remarkable awareness of oral hygiene, it is sad that many oral health advocates still do not target rural areas. Dentist: patient ratio is 1:250,000 for rural populations.

The most common oral disease is dental caries but its not the same in rural areas. Villagers usually suffer from periodontal disease, oral cancer, oral sub mucous fibrosis, early loss of teeth, lose of muscle tonicity/ facial profile, which further weakens their general health. This is mainly because of lack of oral hygiene awareness and tobacco use.

We are trying to educate people about oral hygiene, tooth brushing method, oral rinses & oral cancer awareness. We have also launched Quit Tobacco campaigns and diet Counselling in rural villages of India. We strive to create a positive and self-motivated awakening in oral health care providing dental expertise to the rural population and underprivileged children across India.

Providing affordable dental treatments to all sections of society is what HASNAA pitch for. So far, we’ve been active in rural areas of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir with future plans to cover all the rural population of India.

Many villagers have quit tobacco. Basic prophylactic and preventive dental care is done at our rural dental base center which is on their door step. Those who need it are further treated for pre malignant lesion and oral cancer in various affordable hospitals.

Our strategy is “word of mouth”. We talk to some people in village, convince them of the importance of oral health. These people increase the chances of convincing friends and relatives to stop intake of tobacco/smoking and maintain oral hygiene. Primary dental examination/ screening is done at the rural dental base center. Villagers are checked for dental issues and given affordable dental solutions.

We organise camps at village level where our doctors interact with villagers and also check them for dental issues. The treatment is affordable as villagers pay as per their pocket, which is pre-decided by the villagers itself. If somebody has no money for treatment then he/ she is treated for free.

The emphasis is on the children and in our Rural School Programs school children are taught the basics of tooth brushing and made aware of oral health and importance of giving up tobacco. The children help to become propagators of our idea of sticking to oral hygiene and spread the message to their friends and family.

HASNAA strongly believes in consolidated efforts and sees its efforts turn into a milestone to see a healthy India and a fit India.

For more information on HASNAA see their Website