Mangaluru

Dental students reach out to Ladakh residents through ‘Amchi’ project

Some of the members of ‘Amchi’ project with students during the dental outreach programme in Ladakh. Photo: Special arrangement

Some of the members of ‘Amchi’ project with students during the dental outreach programme in Ladakh. Photo: Special arrangement  

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They did dental health screening of over 1,200 people

It was a new experience for the 16 interns and staff of the Manipal College of Dental Sciences (MCODS) to use their skills in Ladakh, which has freezing temperatures for about nine months a year.

Yet their spirit to do something different prompted them to take part in the dental outreach programme there from July 30 to August 11. In this endeavour, they were joined by 16 volunteers from eight other countries.

The team of 32 volunteers comprised of students, interns and doctors from nine countries – India, U.K., Sweden, Norway, Ireland, France, Romania, Japan and Croatia. After over nine months of meticulous planning, this team reached out to a number of schools in Leh town and in remote, sparsely-populated areas such as Nubra Valley, Diskit, which have poor access to healthcare facilities. The people also suffer from poor oral hygiene.

Working under the banner of ‘Amchi’ over the course of 12 days, this multidisciplinary team did dental health screening of over 1,200 people and provided treatment to over 1,100 people. It also conducted dental camp at four junior and high schools.

“We showed hand washing techniques according to the WHO guidelines and gave oral hygiene instructions. There is a tremendous scarcity of water in Ladakh as it snow clad nine months in a year,” Jakka Sabareesh, team leader and doctor at MCODS, said.

Pankhuri Jain, the deputy leader of the team, explained the new initiative taken up by them. “We recorded the Decayed, Missing, Filled index of the students at Chunlam Sa School in Leh. This record will enable collection of data and monitoring the outcome of the project over a period of time,” she said.

The team, however, had to face two main problems – that of commuting and the treacherous terrain. “The volunteers did develop mountain sickness, but then overcame that quickly as we carried medicines with us,” said Shashidhar Acharya, Head, Department of Public Health of Dentistry, MCODS.

The other volunteers from MCODS in the team were Srikanth Gadicherla, Kanishk Gupta, Soumya Jha, Mehrshad Damania, Siddharth Narayanan, Anupam Singh, Tenzin Pelki Dekeva, Mohini Nayak, Jamili Narayan, Hanan Siddiq and Dinesh Poojary.

‘Amchi’ in Ladakhi means “community medical servants.” They are individuals who are selflessly dedicated to support humanitarian projects for the welfare of the community.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:48:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/dental-students-reach-out-to-ladakh-residents-through-amchi-project/article6334242.ece

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