Chandigarh,15.10.19-The Oral Health Sciences Centre (OHSC), PGI with support from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi and Ministry of Women and Child Welfare (Department of Social Welfare, Women and Child Development – Chandigarh) organized an orientation program for the anganwadi workers of Chandigarh UT on 15th October, 2019 at PGIMER-Chandigarh. This day also marked the beginning of an important multi-centric ICMR Taskforce project for the prevention and reduction of oral diseases among 0-6 year old children of rural areas through anganwadi workers. Mr BL Sharma (IAS secretary of child development and social welfare Chandigarh UT) was the Hon’ble chief guest for the event. Prof Ashima Goyal appreciated the role of the anganwadi workers who work at the grass root level and are in direct contact with pregnant mothers, infants and young children. She emphasised the pivotal role that anganwadi workers can play in the promotion of oral health among children. Prof A Rajwanshi congratulated the Oral Health Sciences Centre for consistently working in a structured manner over the last three decades for promoting oral health in the community. He commended the efforts of the centre in training the dental surgeons of Haryana State, school teachers of Chandigarh UT and presently focussing on training of anganwadi workers for promoting oral health among young children. Professor Rajesh Kumar, Dean Academics, PGI stressed how the tireless efforts by the ICDS team has brought down the infant mortality rate from 120 in 1000 live births to 40 in 1000 live births at present. He also stressed upon the important role that the grass root level workers play in building up a healthy nation. He added that oral health has been a neglected entity and is glad that OHSC-PGIMER is pioneering this magnificent multi-centric project. Mr. BL Sharma emphasised the importance of a healthy body for a happy living and emphasized that oral health is an integral part of general health. He congratulated the masterminds behind the inception of this project. Prof Gauba told that this project is expected to remarkably curb down the oral disease burden. He added that it is intended to translate the outcome of this project into Nation-wide Integration of ICDS with the National Oral Health program. On this occasion, IEC material comprising of Training Manual specially designed for anganwadi workers and posters on oral health promotion were released. This material aims at enhancing the understanding of anganwadi workers about oral health. The training manual will act as a reference guide for the Anganwadi workers to impart oral health knowledge to the mothers. Also, the anganwadi workers will be trained by the project staff as to how to educate the expectant mothers and mothers of 1-6 year old children on oral health promotion of their children. Dr Arpit Gupta, PGI told, it is believed that educating mothers on oral health care of their children as part of this project will start a cascading effect on their children who are the future of our nation thus building up a healthy and happy India. The outcomes of this are expected to be translated for mainstreaming of public oral health care services. The same methodology shall also be replicated at Cuttack, Orissa to evaluate the program parameters at culturally different regions.

Approximately 100 Anganwadi workers, their Supervisors, Project Officers, Program Officers attended this sensitization program and interacted with the various oral health specialists of PGI. They reiterated their support and commitment towards improving the oral health of the mothers and children visiting Anganwadi centres.