Dental Health

Dental healthcare sector continues to face challenges in Telangana-Telangana As we speak

Only one govt dental college with an annual intake of 100 seats for entire State.

Updated On – 7 July 2024, 11:53 PM

Dental healthcare sector continues to face challenges in Telangana

Hyderabad: Government-run dental healthcare facilities and dental education in Telangana has continued to get bogged-down by numerous difficulties.

While general teaching hospitals have been established in all the 33 districts, Telangana State has only one Government Dental College (GDC) at Afzalgunj, not only limiting the options of deserving students from economically weaker sections but also from poor patients.

While there is one GDC, which has an annual intake of 100 BDS seats, in contrast there are 13 private dental teaching hospitals in Telangana with an annual intake of 100 BDS seats each, amounting to a total of 1300 BDS seats.

There is a general acceptance among senior dental surgeons and sector experts that over the years, both dental healthcare facilities and dental education in government sector, have taken a big hit. The pedagogy and practical training at GDC needs an urgent update, in-tune with the present market-driven dynamics of dental healthcare, they aver.

For instance, till a few years ago, the toppers of MDS (Masters in Dental Surgery) i.e. NEET-MDS from Telangana State entirely consisted of pass-out BDS graduates from the Afzalgunj GDC. These days, however, all the NEET-MDS 2024 toppers belong to private dental colleges of Telangana. As a result, GDC is no longer even a first option for meritorious students during counselling.

“The decline in government dental education in Telangana has been steady and there is no single silver bullet to address these difficulties. There are multiple challenges and it needs a lot of commitment from stakeholders including the State government to ensure dental education makes a turnaround in government sector,” says senior dental surgeon and Secretary, Indian Dental Association (IDA) Deccan, Dr A Srikanth.

Steady Government funding for the overall development of infrastructure including operation theatres, class rooms, better hostels, exposure to practical training and more BDS seats are need of the hour. At present, barring the monthly salaries of employees, there are no proposals from the State government to take-up overall funding for infrastructure upgrade at GDC, Afzalgunj.

“The GDC has stopped conducting high-end dental surgeries for a long time. Even minor diagnostic services are, on most of the occasions, outsourced/referred to private dental clinics, which thrive in the neighborhood and old city. A major overhaul is needed if the State government truly wants to improve dental education,” says national president for All India Dental Students Association (AIDSA), Dr Md Manzur.

Independent status to Government dental college

One way to address difficulty in funding is to accord quasi-independent status to GDC, just like Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS). This will ensure GDC is financially independent and quality of dental health care and education is also maintained.

“Ensuring steady government funding to dental hospitals is a big challenge and this is the only way forward, says Dr Srikanth.

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