Dr. Ankita Chandra after clearing her UPSC in 2008 is working with the Ministry Of Health. In her part-time, Dr. Ankita is on a mission to make people aware of dental care. She spoke exclusively to The Logical Indian
Ankita Chandra, How are you related to the Drishti Foundation?
My relation with Drishti Foundation Trust is because of Mr. Dinesh Kr. Gautam who is a dear friend and also the founder of the organization. Drishti Foundation Trust is an NGO working for the betterment of masses from urban slum, rural areas, and other vulnerable communities to move on in life with the means of providing education and healthcare facilities and awareness. Drishti Foundation Trust believes in providing all the resources to the needy children to support & direct their childhood in a leading way; by educating & empowering them to help write their own destiny. It provides Healthcare awareness to the children, adults and senior citizens of our country.
Please tell us a little about your early life?
Visits to several poor and villages of India etched a thought of doing something to change the lives of the people residing in these parts of the country. After completing schooling in Jharkhand and Dentistry from the first Government Dental College Of Asia, Dr. R. Ahmed Dental College and Hospital in Kolkata in the year 2005. Cleared the UPSC in 2008 made me join the Ministry Of Health and Family Welfare, Central Government as a Dental Surgeon at the Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.
How did the thought of serving the rural citizens strike your mind?
One day while discussing and visualizing with Mr. Dinesh Kr Gautam about the healthcare need of our country especially Dental Health Awareness and its massive neglect in Rural India the thought struck me that what about the Oral health of those citizens who do not have a Government card for free dental Treatment and those who cannot afford it. On discussing this issue with Mr. Dinesh Kr. Gautam, Founder of Drishti Foundation Trust we then decided to start the Oral Health Awareness Campaigns in our own Country for the rural India, urban slum with a special focus on Geriatric Age people for whom Dental treatment is like a Dream because of its inaccessibility and expenses. I started with 100 set of dental examination set, gloves, masks and chemical sterilizer which was self-financed and the first mass dental checkup Campaign was in Village-Harsoli,Tehsil-Dudu,Distt.Jaipur (Rajasthan) , we did a checkup for more than 250 villagers. Dental surgeons started understanding the need of my cause that among every 50,000 rural residents there is only 1 dentist in India.
How often do you contribute towards the rural dental checkups?
I can do these Rural Oral and Dental Health campaigns only during the weekends when I am not officially working in the Hospital be it a Sunday or a gazetted holiday. After these Dental Camps, we make a survey report of the general Dental Health Of the area and the cause of the disease and submit the report to the respective government authority. Drishti Foundation Trust then uses this survey reports to study various causes and provide a remedy to the cause. Like a village in Rajasthan in Jaipur district has massive fluoride content in the water causing dental and skeletal defects for generations. Drishti foundation proposed for a fluoride treatment plant in the village to do away with the cause permanently and started working with the networking of other NGOs for the root cause.
Is managing your family along with serving the society, a tough job?
My family is a part of my social work as it supports in all my camps. My six-year-old daughter understands when her mom has to travel overnight for the Rural Camps and even urges to look at the pictures and wants to hear all about the villages I have visited when I get home.My husband, my in-laws, my parents are proud of my work and inspires me to do more. Its my belief that the children of India are our tomorrow and they will shape as we teach them. Our country is not in so many dearths of doctors, engineers and scientists as much as it needs good human beings. Humanity will come only when we can set an example and make our children join us in whatever little social work we do each day.
My future plans are to spread Dental Health Awareness and provide Free dental treatment to All the 6 lakhs villages of our country. We are trying to procure Mobile Dental Vans which will be equipped with all modern facilities as available in any urban government hospital so that there is no discrimination in the quality of healthcare treatment for the rural population of India. Till we manage Dental Vans I carry the mobile dental equipment in my car itself and it solves most of my purpose.
Your message to the youth and fellow Doctors?
There is only one message I want to give to today’s youth and my fellow doctors that India lives in the villages and it the responsibility of each one of us to take care of the health and basic needs of the rural population of our country. If each one of us can dedicate only one day of the month to make better villages it would definitely make a huge difference to the entire nation. I have been to such villages where there is no means of livelihood except cattle grazing and not even a single healthcare set up in the entire village. The volunteer team which works mostly consists of youths of today who does devote social work in these remote areas without any demand of getting paid. It’s a pure voluntary work by them which is paid off by satisfaction and happiness to serve. I am very proud of today’s youth who thinks money doesn’t buy everything on earth but Humanity does.