Unwell Health Services: 550 dental surgeons cater to entire population of the state

Srinagar: Oral health in Kashmir is a disaster, with only 550 Dental Surgeons in place for the entire population of 12.55 million souls of the state.
The pathetic scenario is not only pertaining to the less number of manpower, but the outbreak of blood borne diseases, posing a serious threat to the entire population.
As per World Health Organization (WHO) in every 2 persons 1 is suffering from oral ailments worldwide. Taking into consideration the WHO survey, there is not a sufficient number of specialists in the state, with quackery all around, taking a toll on oral health.
“Imagine this number of Dental surgeons for such a population, this is pathetic and beyond comprehension,” said Dr Imtiyaz Banday, President, Society of Dental Surgeons J&K (SDSK).
With already scarce number of specialists in oral health, there is huge number of qualified persons out there, who can make some good to the already grim situation in oral health. “There are at least 3000 qualified person, and they are unemployed, and with each year hundreds of professionals are also coming out of several institutions,” said Dr Banday, adding that nobody is ready to rope them in to make it more efficient.
According to figures, since 2009 no posts of Dental Surgeons have been referred to Public Health Centres, with the government apart from lacking the comprehensive health policy, is completely lacking oral health policy as well.
Figures also reveal that newly created New Type Public Health Centres (NTPHCs) in the peripheries of the state were given 300 Medical Officers, but to the utter surprise they too were provided with no ‘Dental Surgeons’ at all.
With lack of specialized manpower, another disaster is onto the oral health in the state: lack of sterilization, which is happening rampantly, and is posing serious threats to the population.
The case in point is Sagaam, Kokernag where several cases of Hepatitis-C were reported in 2016 and experts are saying the main reason was that the surgical procedures including dental procedures were done while violating the set guidelines for sterilization.
“The case on Sagaam was just a tip of the iceberg, it is happening all around, and it just popped out in Sagaam,” he said.
“Liver cells compensate to the damaged cells, and regeneration process is quick and that is the reason that it takes time for the disease to come out and manifest the symptoms,” he added.
According to Dr Banday, the boiling procedure is still used for sterilization in peripheries, instead of using the modern techniques like autoclaving and hot air oven.
A dental surgeon in peripheries, as per figures sees not less than 100 patients a day, “while a doctor is busy in OPD, a technical assistant carries out the surgical procedure, which usually is unsafe,” he said.
The non-professionals in this field, as per experts have started their ventures privately and are carrying out dental procedures, usually without following the set guidelines.
“The situation is alarming, as there is blood involved and whenever an infected instrument comes in contact with the blood, infection spreads, and takes time in manifestation,” he said.
Banday said that there is a dire need of revamping and upgrading the oral health system of the state, both private and government on modern lines. “Government should consider this and should create additional posts to rope in professionals,” adding “the aspect of sterilization is also threatening, this also needs to be taken care of.”

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