A first-of-its-kind dental care initiative for transgenders

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017
a first-of-its-kind dental care initiative for transgenders
Dr Vaibhav Kumar (right) with Nitasha Biswas and Dr Ankur Agarwal at the launch of Kartavya in Delhi

Dr Vaibhav Kumar, 28, a Mumbai-based community dentist, has launched Kartavya, a first-of-its-kind initiative for the transgender community to address its oral health issues.

Under the programme, doctors will provide free dental check-up and a basic infection control treatment such as minor fillings, teeth cleaning to members of the community.

The objective, says the young doctor, is to make the community aware about the importance of oral health and also to encourage them to seek medical help. Besides, through this programme he wants to sensitise the dentist community to the inhibitions transgender community faces while accessing healthcare.

The idea occurred to him around one-and-a-half years back when he was a doing his post graduation in community dentistry. His college organized a dental camp for commercial sex workers and he met a lot of people from transgender community there. “I realised that there is an urgent need for a health campaign aiming at making healthcare affordable and accessible to transgender community,” says Kumar.

Nitasha Biswas, Miss Transqueen India 2017 joined his project as a good will ambassador.  “Oral health care is basic personal hygiene. Due to the hustle and bustle of routine life, this is often neglected. I want my community to be aware of oral health issues,” says Nitasha.

Kumar  says that he would like hospitals, individual dentists, dental colleges across the country to join the programme so that it benefits the maximum number of people in the community. "I want this program to be nationwide, to transcend barriers of acceptability, affordability and awareness, and to forge a positive healthcare seeking and healthcare providing attitude,” he says.  

The first chapter of Kartavya in the Delhi-NCR region will be launched in the next few weeks at Divya Jyoti College of Dental Sciences. “Dental equity and equality are primary facets of the system. We believe that such an initiative is special because of the fundamentals of inclusion and integration. Oral healthcare for all is the need of the hour, ”says Dr Reena R. Kumar,  principal and dean, Jyoti College of Dental Sciences.

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