Although the dental profession is considered as a virtuous profession, but the current status of dental graduates in India is found to be underrated. If this situation persists, it will create a negative impact on the reliability of the dental profession, and the highly skilled dental manpower of the country will go in vain.
India has 310 dental colleges out of which the no. of private colleges are increasing enormously. In India, it is supposed that more than 1 lakh dentists will be available by the end of year, 2020. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Data, the Dental surgeon to patient ratio is found to be 1: 8,018.48. In today’s era, getting a job or a promising career in dentistry is very challenging due to several reasons which is putting the dentist's career at a risk and depriving the patient from getting dental services.
In urban areas, the dentist to population ratio is 1:8,000 and on the other hand this ratio is found to be 1:50,000 in the rural regions.
Dr AK Chandna, member, Dental Council of India (DCI) said "India has 310 dental colleges and most of these colleges are in the private sector. Despite the fact that there are so many dentists, the doctor-patient ratio is not satisfactory because most of the dentists are concentrated in urban areas for private practice as there are meagre opportunities in the government sector".
In this blog, we are going to summarize a few points regarding the current crisis of dentist to patient care along with some probable solutions.
1. Uneven distribution of dental colleges:
In India, a large number of dental colleges are available. But the distribution pattern is irregular, for example, large no of dental colleges are available in Karnataka as compared to other states, such as-Gujarat, Bihar. Therefore, students in such states are more likely to pursue BDS courses than those states in which such colleges are not available.
2. Geographical factors:
The facilities for oral health improvement are better in urban areas as compared to rural areas. According to WHO, minor facilities are available for oral health care of rural population while it is found to be high in case of urban population, based on some social parameters, such as ,income, education facility etc.This is also because most of the well qualified dentists are working in urban areas.
As per WHO ,the ideal dentist -population ratio 7500. According to World Health Statistics in 2004, it was 1:10000(for urban population) and 1:500000(for rural population).
3. Lack of Government job:
Less number of vacancies are available for dental professions in Govt. firm as compared to medical professions. It is found that only 5% graduated dentist are serving in government sector. Sometimes it is also heard that the selection process for such posts may also be full of corruptions and malpractices. And the salaries in these Govt. hospitals also varies a lot among different parts of the country.
4. Hurdles to establish a private practice:
Although most of the dentist show their interest in private practice in their own clinics, but it requires huge investment. The locality of clinics and the costly equipments require a huge amount of financial support. If these problems may be thought to be minimized to some extent but another problem may arise due to existence of never ending competition in this field.
5. Less no. of Post graduation seats:
Now a days, dental graduate are facing several problems as the competition among dental aspirants is rising day by day to get an admission in PG courses. Although, many private colleges are there for dental students, but they charge a huge amount of fee for admission.
Also Read: Recent Jr-ship vacancies for BDS Graduates
Following are the possible solutions which should be taken in to consideration in order to minimize the imbalance between urban and rural dentist-patient ratio:
- Formulation of National oral health policy: Government and Dental Council should take necessary steps towards the formulation of National oral health policy through which dentists are able to get employed in every government healthcare facility.
- Imbalance between rural and urban dentist-patient ratio can also be reduced by increasing job opportunities in rural areas. Govt. of India should take proposal regarding the dental practice in rural areas by providing essential subsidies.
- Government should create vacancies for new post for dental graduates in Govt. hospitals and at primary healthcare centers.
- Increasing Dental PG seat capacity: A total control over the number of dental colleges should be required as the no. of UG seats in dental colleges is found to be higher in comparison to the PG seats for dental graduates. The no. of Post graduate Dental seats should be increased providing greater opportunities for all the dental aspirants who desire to take admission in Post graduation courses.
- Dental Council of India should take strict action over the dental colleges which are not framed as per DCI guidelines and are lacking in proper standards.
- Government should organize health programs in every rural area to create public awareness to oral diseases as these diseases are becoming leading health problems and are attributed mainly to rapidly changing lifestyles.