BENGALURU: Here’s a reason to smile for folks living in villages, the state government will soon start providing free denture services at their doorsteps, at a time of their convenience.
As part of the ‘Dhantha Bhagya’ scheme started by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, residents of rural areas will be able to attend dental camps.
The scheme was launched in 2014 December and it aimed to provide this service to 30,000 people from below poverty line families.
But in the first year, (2015-16), they managed to reach only 1,600 people. In subsequent years, the number went up and touched 5,550.
But in five years they managed to reach only 17,000 people.
Now, the Department of Health wants to ramp up the outreach with the help of private sponsors as well as the government.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr. Pramila, Deputy Director for Oral Health Policy and Dental Health, Department of Health, said, “The scheme was thought of considering the fact that beneficiaries, who are mostly senior citizens, had to travel to district centres where dental colleges are located.
"A denture procedure takes at least four to five sittings. Since they are senior citizens, they would be accompanied by family members, and this was found to be time-consuming for them,’’ she said.
That’s when they thought of organising dental camps for free dentures at their villages. The department has entered into a memorandum of understanding with two government and 43 private dental colleges across the state.
At present they do not have funds for organising denture camps. “We are taking the help of private individuals or organisation for sponsoring.
"We cannot always ask private people to sponsor. We will soon approach the government for more funds to organise these camps, so that more people will be benefited,’’ a senior official on condition of anonymity said.
Interestingly, many senior citizens who approached for free denture service was to be able to eat food.