File photo: Union Minister Harsh Vardhan. Photograph:( PTI )
Dr Vardhan said that these initiatives have taken inspiration from the importance given to digital platforms by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday launched a website and mobile application of 'eDantseva', the first-ever national digital platform on oral health information and knowledge dissemination.
In his address at the inauguration event, Dr Vardhan said that these significant initiatives have taken inspiration from the importance given to digital platforms for the people's knowledge and information by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"e-DantSeva is the first-ever national digital platform that provides oral health information both in the form of a website and mobile application. Oral health is indispensable for the wellbeing and good quality of life. Poor oral health affects growth negatively in all aspects of human development," he said.
The minister said that dental caries or cavities and periodontal disease remain the two most prevalent dental diseases of the Indian population and dental infections have a potential for serious diseases or infections.
The initiative of the Union Health Ministry with the AIIMS and other stakeholders aims to sensitize the public about the significance of maintaining optimum oral health and equips them with the tools and knowledge to do so, including awareness on the nearest oral health service facility.
"e-DantSeva contains information about the National Oral Health Program (NOHP), detailed list of all the dental facility and colleges, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material and a unique feature called the 'Symptom Checker', which provides information on symptoms of dental/oral health problems, ways to prevent these, the treatment modes, and also directs the user to find their nearest available dental facility (public and private sectors both)," an official release said.
The Union Health Minister also released the Braille booklet and voice over on oral health education for the visually impaired individuals along with the oral health posters for pregnant women and children.
"Maintenance of oral health is particularly challenging in people with special needs. As Braille is the only reading method for the visually impaired people to get access information, we have launched printed Braille oral health books along with the voice-over among visually impaired individuals that will provide them with the opportunity to read and hear about the essentials and importance of oral health," he said.
In 2014, the National Oral Health Programme in its current form was introduced.
According to data compiled by the Union Health Ministry, India is the home to 20.5 per cent of the world's blind population. The highest disability is found in the age group of 10-19 years, which includes the school-going children. The literate visually impaired population accounts for 53.8 per cent whereas the illiterate accounts for 46.2 per cent of the total population.
The Centre for Dental Education and Research (CDER), AIIMS, New Delhi functions as the National Centre of Excellence for Implementation of NOHP.
Secretary, Health, Preeti Sudan, Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, New Delhi, and CDER chief Dr O P Kharbanda among others were present at the event.
Speaking on the importance of oral health for pregnant women, Guleria told ANI: "If a pregnant mother has a dental problem or caries on teeth, then foetus or newly born baby can have inflammatory markers in the body. This can transfer to the baby through the placenta and it can increase the chances of infection and heart complications, etc. So, dental health is important for overall body's health."