Mission oral health
By Meera Bhardwaj | Express News Service | Published: 10th December 2016 08:00 PM |
Imagine an entire dental clinic fitted into a suitcase and dentists treating patients in the comfortable ambience of their homes.
Dr Devaiah, trained in Switzerland, has launched Mobident—dental clinic in a suitcase—to deliver inexpensive dental care at homes and offices in Bengaluru and other cities. He has packed the dental chair weighing 12 kg and the dental kit into a suitcase with the total weight of 14 kg. Teaming with Vivek Madappa, 51, an entrepreneur, Dr Devaiah, 47, started MobiDent in 2014. They provide preventive dental care at homes at a very minimal cost. Vivek helps with the outreach programmes and they have 33 doctors onboard apart from the technical assistants, drivers, technicians, software developers and a call centre team to look after online bookings.
With six (one big and five small ) mobile vans, they visit tech parks, corporate offices, schools, gated communities, homes and hospitals. They purchased the big van for `40 lakh and the smaller vans for `4.5 lakh. In 2011, they started with the corporate sector and expanded to hospitals in 2014 and by 2016, homes were added to their visiting list. Every day they attend 15 home calls, visit two offices and cover one hospital. Dr Devaiah’s dental van is the first in the country. And the doctor is so passionate about the project that he often drives around the van himself.
He says, “Every child should visit a dentist once in six months and an adult should go for a dental checkup at least once a year. The neglect results in tooth decay, bad breath and gum infection. Mostly, lack of awareness about oral hygiene and fear of a dental visit prevents people from undergoing regular check-ups.” The doctor adds that with the traditional way of dental practise not flourishing in India, this is the best way where one can reach people at their homes or offices.
“I was inspired from house calls for geriatric patients. This was in mid-90s and I started perfecting the art for packing a dental kit. Under specialists at the University of Zurich, I learned a lot.” But it took him a long time to finally design the suitcase. In 2007-08, he conducted a survey on his patients on the need of a mobile dental van. The positive response egged him to start the project. Purchasing a chassis, Dr Devaiah devised and assembled a body costing around `40 lakh that could hold two dental chairs, a waiting room and a TV. After eight months, he parked his van at Sigma Tech Park in Whitefield on July 4, 2011.
Recalling the experiences, he says, “It was more like a dream come true. We parked our van for 20 days there and every day around 40 patients were treated.” The doctor has been concentrating more on the preventive aspects of dental care. He says, “Most cases of tartar, bleeding gums etc can be prevented. However, such problems if not addressed in time may pose serious threats.”
Talking about his observations on the paradigm shift in lifestyle of people and its adverse effect on oral health, he adds, “With youth and kids on refined diet, problems of tooth decay is pretty common. Women between 28 and 48 years come to us with problems of shaky teeth. People mostly fear the pangs of tooth extractions and injections and keep postponing dental check-ups.”
Recalling a home visit, Dr Devaiah says, “Despite having problems of shaky tooth and decay, the 80-year-old patient kept avoiding dentists all her life. Finally, unable to bear the pain, she gave us a call. She then had her tooth extracted in the comfort of her home.”
Apart from Bengaluru, they provide services in Mysuru, Pune and Ahmedabad and plans to add Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderbad, Gurgaon and Delhi on their list. Dr Devaiah also plans on bringing back over 4,000 dentists from call centres as they have drifted to other professions. Although the start up is mostly self-funded it has received funding from angel investors. The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship under the aegis of IIM-Ahmedabad recently invested in MobiDent’s vision of delivering dental care in India, South Asia and Africa.
To avail services, visit www.mobident.in