Less investment in health sector recently unveiled the inability to tackle COVID-19 crisis
It is well said that the development of a country or a state is not merely measured in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and development but rather what assumes weightage is the sustainable development that is highly valued when a question arises ‘who is going to be the global leader in this multipolar world’?
There are nonetheless seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are to be achieved by every state and if we work through all of them much emphasis has been laid on the overall human welfare in terms of social, political and economic equality.
Some of the SDGs are: no poverty; zero hunger; decent work and economic growth; reduced inequalities; and peace, justice and strong institutions.
In this context, if we examine the current scenario none of them has been achieved to a satisfactory level and the repercussions of that are fully visible in various sectors and in particular the sector of dentistry.
Dentists have been marginalized, deprived and kept underprivileged in terms of decent work and employment. Inequalities are being witnessed since last 12 years.
Jammu and Kashmir administration has almost neglected dentistry as a profession. No respite has been extended for our filed for more than a decade now. Infact it is more surprising that the supply is being maintained but the demand of the same has been disproved each and every time we approached the respective regimes.
If we approach the scenario objectively it is constitutional obligation of the government to respect the fundamental rights of citizens envisaged in the constitution.
Article 16 of the constitution stands for ‘equality of opportunity in matters of public employment’; Article 21 stands for ‘right to dignified life’; Article 38 promotes the ‘welfare of people by seeking a social order through social, economic and political justice; Article 39 stands for ‘adequate means of livelihood to citizens’; Article 41 stands for ‘right to work’ and likewise Article 43 of the constitution stands for ‘decent standard of living’.
Presently, there are more than 4000 dentists in Jammu and Kashmir seeking employment including both dental graduates from government and private colleges. This increased unemployment has dismantled the dentist-patient ratio in Jammu and Kashmir as well.
Role of dentists in promoting the welfare of society cannot be neglected as is evident during when COVID-19 crisis. Less investment in the health sector recently unveiled the inability to tackle the crisis of COVID-19. Besides that less expenditure in public sector has given the upper hand to the quacks to practice dentistry which has severe repercussions as spread of dreadful diseases like Hepatitis-B and Hepatitis-C etc is becoming common.
There are number of schemes launched by government of India where dentists could be absorbed including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana in Ayushman Bharat where dentists can play an important role in providing services.
Rural areas are deprived of proper health care delivery including the most serious dental health care. People residing in rural areas are forced to move to urban located hospitals to avail dental health care. This not only increases their pocket expenditure but also render them with little savings. Appointing dentists in such areas would be a revolutionary move by the government.
We request Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu and other concerned governmental organizations to look into this matter. Sir, it takes years of devotion to get graduate degree of BDS. However, even after such painstaking efforts the current situation of dental graduates in Jammu and Kashmir remains grave. Hope our grievances are addressed in a justified manner.