In a bid to tackle barriers in everyday health and address oral health concerns in the country, four mobile dental vans were flagged off on Tuesday by Dr. Ram Prakash Rai, District Epidemiologist (IDPS) Civil Surgeon Office, Gurugram, to serve the underprivileged communities.
GlaxoSmithKline Asia, drugmaker 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.
Recognising 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 will operate the four mobile dental vans in Delhi NCR to create awareness on oral health and hygiene, and increase access thereafter. Two mobile dental units will operate in Delhi and one each in Noida and Gurugram, serving people free of charge.
Each medical mobile unit is equipped with GPS facility, offering dental consultation, oral cancer screening to underprivileged people in and around Delhi NCR free of charge. Each unit is staffed with a registered dentist, technician, programme coordinator and aims to reach out to 72,000 beneficiaries in the first year. Smile Foundation aims to establish linkages with government and charitable hospitals for referral services.
Speaking on partnering with Smile Foundation, Shanu Saksena, Head CSR, GSK APL 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”.
On the occasion, Santanu Mishra, co-founder & executive trustee, Smile Foundation, said:”This pilot project is a step towards addressing dental healthcare in India. We have partnered with GSK APL to launch our first ever mobile dental units. We are hoping to bridge the gaps in dental healthcare delivery and provide quality services at the grassroots to ensure oral healthcare for all.”