New Delhi, India: In light of tackling barriers to everyday health and addressing oral health inequalities in the country, four Mobile Dental Vans were flagged off on Monday by Dr. Ram Prakash Rai, District Epidemiologist (IDPS) Civil Surgeon Office, Gurugram, Health Department at Chakkarpur, Gurgaon to serve the underprivileged communities.
GlaxoSmithKline Asia Private Limited, the makers of Sensodyne launched the vans under the corporate social responsibility initiative ‘Smile on Wheels Mobile Dental Vans’, in partnership with Smile Foundation.
The four vans were flagged off in the presence of senior leaders of the GlaxoSmithKline Asia Private Limited, along with the leaders of Smile Foundation.
Oral health is an indicator of overall wellbeing and there is an increased need for interventions to alleviate prevalence of oral disease burden of the country. Around 85-90% adults and 60-80% children have dental cavities in India.
Recognizing these disparities, this initiative is a call for action to improve oral health in India by providing free dental care consultations to the underprivileged communities and increase access and utilization of dental care at the grassroots.
Smile Foundation, an NGO working to enable change through health and education initiatives,will operate four mobile dental vans in Delhi NCR to create awareness on oral health and hygiene, and increase access thereafter. Of the four, two will operate in Delhi, and one each in in Gurgaon and Noida.
Speaking on partnering with Smile Foundation, Shanu Saksena, Head CSR, said “There’s a synergic relationship between oral health and overall wellness. Taking actions to support communities to be healthy is reinforcing our commitment that better everyday health should be within the reach for everyone. That’s why, we want to positively impact people living in the communities we operate in. Through this partnership, we have an opportunity to usher in change and work together in overcoming barriers faced in the delivery of oral healthcare to underserved areas.”
Each medical mobile van is equipped with GPS facility, offering dental consultation, oral cancer screening to underprivileged people in and around the Delhi NCR free of charge. Each van is staffed with a dentist, technician, programme coordinator and aims to reach out to 72,000 beneficiaries in the first year. The NGO aims to establish linkages with government and charitable hospitals for referral services.
Recognizing schools as an effective platform to strengthen oral health promotion and disease prevention intervention, the NGO will conduct a School Dental Health Programme once a week offering dental check-up to children.
Commenting on the collaboration, Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation says, “This project is a start towards addressing dental healthcare in India. We have partnered with GlaxoSmithKline Asia Private Limited,to launch our first ever mobile dental vans and are hoping to bridge gaps in dental healthcare delivery and provide quality services at the grassroots to ensure oral healthcare for all.”
As a self-sufficient system to deliver dental care, the project aims to increase utilisation of dental care by underprivileged and underserved communities of Delhi NCR at the grassroot level.