Delhi will get mobile dental clinics by March this year.
Despite the health ministry sanctioning Rs 1 crore for mobile dental dispensaries two years ago, the project was stuck due to the non-availability of the right-sized vehicle.
“The vehicles we had shortlisted were told off by the pollution department. All commercial vehicles including ambulances need a Bharat Stage (BS) IV clearance but the size of the vehicle we wanted was only BS III cleared,” said Dr Vikrant Mohanty, assistant professor, public health dentistry at Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences (MAIDS).
Since then procuring the right-sized chassis had become an uphill task. “But after our last meeting with the ministry two days ago, we have been able to identify a vehicle meeting all requirements,” he said, adding, “Once we procure the vehicle, then we will only need to fabricate it as per the standards of a dental laboratory.”
Dr Mahesh Verma, director-principal, MAIDS, said the project is expected to start by the end of March this year. “In the first phase, we are planning to station two mobile dental clinics in dispensaries in north district of the Capital. We will also have four information, education and communication (IEC) vehicles that will go to areas our dispensaries can’t reach,” he said.
“While IEC vehicles are good for primary care, the mobile dispensaries — with two surgeons, two chair assistants and one dental hygienist along with modern equipment — will be good for secondary care,” Verma added.
According to the plan, all patients requiring specialist care and complicated procedures will be directed to MAIDS. “As this is the first time a state is initiating such a dental project, its success will decide if we can replicate it in other areas of Delhi and later in other states,” said Mohanty.