|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2011 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 340-341
Perception of accredited social health activists regarding oral health in Northern India
Utkal Mohanty1, Hari Parkash2
1 Senior Resident, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
2 Director General, I.T.S Centre for Dental Studies and Research, Delhi-Meerut Road, Murad Nagar, Ghaziabad, India
|Date of Web Publication||30-Jan-2012|
Senior Resident, PGIMER, Chandigarh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Mohanty U, Parkash H. Perception of accredited social health activists regarding oral health in Northern India. Indian J Public Health 2011;55:340-1
|How to cite this URL:|
Mohanty U, Parkash H. Perception of accredited social health activists regarding oral health in Northern India. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2011 [cited 2019 Dec 12];55:340-1. Available from: http://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2011/55/4/340/92424
Oral health is an integral and essential component of general health and this is the epitome that all of us strive to achieve. Dental caries and periodontal diseases are the most common oral health problems of Indian population. About 54% of children and 80% of 35-44 year old people are affected by dental caries, whereas about 90% of 35-44 year old are affected by periodontal diseases.  These diseases are neglected over the years especially in rural areas. The lack of treatment-seeking behavior is mainly because of negligible mortality rate of these diseases.
Primary health care delivery system in India lacks oral health care providers in most of the states and there is no ongoing national level program to take care of these silent, less mortal but hugely morbid conditions. To cater the oral health problems, India has 291 dental colleges out of which 39 are managed by Government and 252 are managed by private sector.  At present, the dentist-to-population ratio in India is 1:13,000.  The Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being the first port of call for any health-related demands of deprived sections of the population are at a key position to impart oral health related information at grass root level. Thus, in addition to the assigned duties, ASHAs can spend few minutes for educating people regarding oral health care.
To assess the knowledge of ASHAs regarding oral health, one hundred and fifty ASHAs were selected from six different PHCs of Ghaziabad district, Uttar Pradesh, India by convenient sampling. A self-administered questionnaire consisting of 10 questions was distributed based on common oral health problems. Majority of the ASHAs i.e 80.66% did not know how to identify dental caries. Among the 19.34% respondents who thought that they can identify dental caries, 48.2% were of the opinion that it appears as a black spot on the tooth surface followed by 31.2% responded dental caries as a hole on the tooth. 60.67% of the respondents were confident about identifying periodontitis (pyorrhoea). Out of them, 46.15% respondents thought bad odor from mouth as a manifestation of periodontitis as compared to 34.06%, who thought bleeding gums as a manifestation of periodontitis. Association between tobacco and cancer was known to 44.7% of the ASHAs and 52.2% of the ASHAs who knew about it used to advice regarding cessation of tobacco use. 32% of the respondents thought that oral health is important for overall health. Only 7.3% of the workers were of the opinion that poor oral health might have adverse effect on the health of new born. Referral of the patients with oral heath problems is very low i.e only 12% of the ASHAs responded positively regarding referral of patients having oral health problem to the nearby dental surgeons. Most of the ASHAs i.e 90.6% thought that the content in the training manual provided to them is not enough pertaining to oral health and wanted the training material should contain more topics related to oral health.
The result shows majority of the ASHAs lack basic idea about common oral diseases. Thus, there is a pressing need to sensitize them on topics of oral health and diseases during the training period which will be of great help to create awareness among the people.
| References|| |
|1.||Bali RK, Mathur VB, Talwar PP, Chanana HB. National oral health survey and fluoride mapping; 2002-2003. India, Dental Council of India, New Delhi; 2004. p. 16-7. |
|2.||Available from: http://www.mohfw.nic.in [Last Accessed on 2010 Jul 20]. |
|3.||Kohli A. Status of dental education in India. Dent India 2007;1:6. |