Aam Aadmi Party, Akali Dal, Bhai Baldeep Singh, Congress, Dental Surgeons Association of India, Dental Surgery, Dharamvera Gandhi, Drug Rehabilitation, Drugs, Healthcare, Patiala, Punjab, Sultanpur Lodhi, The Anad Foundation
The Anad Foundation with Dental Surgeons Association of India (Punjab)
May 10, 2015
Village Sandharsi, Tehsil Rajpura, Punjab
Punj-Care Initiatives, organized its 2nd Free Dental Screening Camp at Gurdwara Village Sandharsi, Ghanaur, Punjab. Dr. Saurabh Arora, State President, and Dr. Karandeep Singh, State Coordinator of DSAI (Punjab) led the delegation of dental surgeons and interns who screened over 87 patients from the region. Patients who underwent clinical checks for dental diseases included teachers, labourers, the village priests, children, local politicians and the young and elderly male and female folks of the region. In addition to the oral health checkup, visiting patients were demonstrated proper brushing techniques for maintaining oral hygiene and given free toothpastes and toothbrushes by the doctors.
Bhai Baldeep Singh founded Punj-Care Initiatives to tackle the health problems and its lack of awareness among people residing in rural India by taking quality healthcare and awareness to the poor and the underserved with nil or limited access to it. Punj-Care is proud to have Dental Surgeons Association of India (DSAI) as one of its first partners in this endeavour. Several senior dental surgeons from India and abroad including Dr. Chandresh Gupta, Member, Dental Council of India and President, DSAI, Dr. Rajiv Chugh, Dr. L. K. Gandhi and Dr. Boota Singh Ubhi advise and support Punj-Care. Punj-Care is desirous that the dental surgeons in the region use quality restorative materials and offer quality treatment for free or at a very discounted rate especially to the members of the under-served communities.
That oral-health care is an urban concern particularly in Punjab, came to the fore when residents of a sleepy hamlet called Sandharsi, Tehsil Rapjura, in the Patiala district woke up to the loudspeaker calls to visit the local Gurdwara premises for a dental check up. Many villagers somehow thought it was an eye-camp instead while some came with an intent to resolve even their gastric or stomachical issues. Children with rotting and discoloured teeth were also part of the docket while a sixty year old with his surviving pair (of teeth) also came if only to get his first-ever tooth-brushing lesson. This village elder has also been referred to the local DSAI member to get his dentures made. Then there was a case of a Jardaa addict who shocked the dental surgeons attending him with his pitch black gums for he, a 55 years old village elder, had never brushed in his life! A teary eyed middle-aged lady presented a painful sight and who, if not for the Punj-Care camp, would not have known where to go or what to do to find relief from her unbearable toothache. Witnessing the condition and life style of the poverty ridden and underserved, our resolve to take healthcare based on a non-profit model to people who otherwise will never have any access to it whatsoever, is only hardened.
In spite of the fact that there were two deaths in the village and many people were busy with a couple of marriage ceremonies, there was a reasonable turnout at the Gurdwara. The village Gurdwara is situated to the Northwest side adjacent to an old Shiva Temple and a hermitage with spectacular banyan, peepul and neem trees. Dr. Gurmeet Singh, the local registered medical practitioner also helping out with the arrangements. The local priests, socio-political activists, party-workers affiliated to several political ideologies be it Akali Dal, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, BSP and others alike not only lent a helping hand voluntarily in organizing the camp but were seen engaging in eager conversations with the dental surgeons at the camp. Teary eyed, bewildered, confused, distasteful, enthusiastic, or eyes portraying hesitant looks and expressions – visiting patients from village Sandharsi and several adjacent hamlets for once had their jaws held quite wide open! Every single visitor was sensitized about the benefits of brushing their teeth at least twice a day; of gargling after every meal; and of getting a regular check-up that can help preserve natural teeth for the entirety of one’s lifetime.
Dr. Karanveer Singh who practices dental surgery at Rajpura and heads Sardar Mann Singh Memorial Educational and Research Welfare Society (Regd.) running a few social initiatives in the locale was DSAI’s local coordinator for Punj-Care Initiatives camp. Dental surgeons and social activists from across Punjab converged to dedicate the day caring for the people who clearly lacked awareness about oral healthcare. Dr. Prabhjot Kaur, who hails from Patiala said that although the “camp was good, but being a dentist” she would have liked to do more for the patients including some emergency treatments such as “extractions and oral prophylaxis”.
Dr. Sunny Sandhu, MBBS (AIIMS) MD (Alternative Medicine), a resident of Tarn Taran and who is one of the project leaders at Punj-Care Initiatives by The Anad Foundation said, “The experience was great as I could practice my holistic techniques with a rural population. It was my first experience of working alongside with dentists which provided me with an opportunity to learn more about the ups and downs of dentistry especially about how ignorant people are about oral health, hygiene and general wellbeing.” Manjot Singh, in his final semester of BDS at Gian Sagar Dental College and Hospital, Banur, was one of the four interns at the Punj-Care camp. His review note read, “I have had a really good experience – not only in delivering dental care but also educating the patients about oral health and meeting people who are not only just doctors but people with genuine concern for others and who are striving hard to bring changes for the betterment of the society. What a fabulous day!”
Punj-Care Initiatives offers its heartfelt gratitude to the Gurdwara management as well as Principal Jaspal Singh (Retd.), Gursev Singh Harpalpur, Tarlochan Singh Rao Majra, Parmjit Singh Sandharsi, Sarpanch Randhir Singh Sandharsi, Harvinder Singh Sandharsi for all the logistical support and invaluable assistance provided which made it possible to host the free camp. Punj-Care is also thankful for the compassion of the following dental surgeons, who donated one full day for public service: Dr. Saurabh Arora, Dr. Karanveer Singh, Dr. Prabhjot Kaur, Dr. Karandeep Singh; interns Manjot Singh, Nauras, Palak Gupta, Parminder; and to Dr. Kanwardeep Kaur, Dr. Amrit Kaur Sethi and Dr. Brahmleen Kaur for coordinating the event. The Anad Foundation team at the camp was lead by Geeta Sangha and Tejinder Singh and while graphic designer Kamleshwar Singh Batra extended backroom support.