Dental Surgeons blame unsafe dental procedures for Hepatitis-C outbreak

SRINAGAR: Society of Dental Surgeons J&K (SDSJK) Saturday castigated the government’s “incompetent and non-serious” attitude towards Hepatitis-C outbreak in parts of Kashmir Valley.
In a press statement issued here, the body said, “The government is showing immense laxity when it comes to enforce system of its own framed rules and regulations”.
According to the Dental Surgeons’ representative body, the two main reasons of Hepatitis-C outbreak in twin villages of Takiya Magam and Sonabarie of Kokernag in 2013 was “continuous use of unsterilized needles and performing dental procedures such as extraction and scaling without proper sterilization mechanism by quacks”.
“The same reasons are being reported as a cause at other places where cluster cases of Hepatitis-C are being witnessed,” it said.
The body said transmission of various life threatening diseases in dental procedures was of grave concern.
“The Health Ministry and concerned health authorities should take serious concern in upgrading the Dental Sections of state-run Hospitals and in the clinics run by private dental practitioners on scientific guidelines,” it said.
The increase in Hepatitis-C cases, it said, was “just a tip of iceberg” and the real situation was “murkier and lethal” than what the government was presuming.
SDSJK lashed out at the J&K State Dental Council (JKSDC), which it said was entrusted by the government to enforce the dental laws and regulation in the state.
“The council, since its inception, has done nothing except acquiring posts to glorify themselves and have a post-retirement name tag per se,” it said.
It said the 14-year-old JKSDC has, contrary to its purpose, failed check mushrooming of illegal dental clinics and quacks across the state.
“It is unfortunate that neither all the Dental Clinics are registered nor there is any gag on illegal dental clinics, leading to the drastic spread of dreadful diseases,” it said.
It described JKSDC as an “unconstitutional body” sans any democratic setup, “promoting a mafia culture”.
“The council has been hijacked by few persons for the interests better known to them and to those who are shielding their flaws and incompetence,” it said.
“If the government and the health authorities are not serious in implementing the laws in letter and spirit, there will be rampant spread of diseases like Hepatitis-C and more deaths,” it added, asking the Health Ministry to intervene and “dissolve JKSDC, which has been running without elections for nine years”.
It said the government itself should implement dental rules and regulations.
The SDSJK appealed the Health Minister Choudhary Lal Singh, MoS Health Asiya Naqash, and Directors of Health Services “to take cognizance and devise strict Dental Laws for the state”.