RTI Reveals No Data on Dental Healthcare Funding and Jobs With Govt

Hyderabad: The Union ministry of health and family welfare has not provided information on budget allocations for oral healthcare and the availability of central government jobs in the dental sector from 2014 to 2024, despite a formal request under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

This request, initiated by the All India Dental Students and Dental Surgeons Association (AIDSDSA), aimed to assess the government's focus and funding toward improving dental health services nationally.

Filed on March 5, 2024, the RTI inquiry sought detailed disclosures regarding the financial commitment made by the ministry in various domains of dental healthcare including preventive measures, treatment services, infrastructure, education, training, and research. It further requested information on the effectiveness of these initiatives and any collaborative efforts with dental associations, NGOs, or international organisations to bolster oral health.

However, the lack of a substantive response from both the ministry of health and family welfare and the Dental Council of India has exposed what dental students and surgeons in the state called a 'troubling gap' in transparency and accountability within India's healthcare governance.

This omission has sparked significant concern among dental professionals and students, who

rely on this data to advocate for better public health policies.

Mohd Manzur, representing AIDSDSA, expressed his dismay at the government's inaction and said, "The government's failure to respond to our RTI request denies us critical data needed to evaluate and improve the state of oral healthcare in India. This is not just an administrative oversight but a severe neglect of dental health, which is a vital component of public health."

A dental student affiliated with the association shared her frustrations anonymously, highlighting the impact of this issue on future professionals. "We are training to enter a field where our role is to advance public health. The government's indifference to such a critical aspect of healthcare reform is not only disappointing but also demoralising for all of us in the dental community," he told Deccan Chronicle. In light of these developments, AIDSDSA called on political parties in India to prioritise oral healthcare in their policy agendas and to take definitive steps to address the deficiencies laid bare by the government's non-disclosure.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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