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Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig 2015, 66(3): 275-280

Utilization of services and referrals through dental outreach programs in rural areas of India. A two year study.
[Utilization of services and referrals through dental outreach programs in rural areas of India. A two year study.]

K. Asawa, N.V. Bhanushali, M. Tak, D.R.V. Kumar, M.F.B.A. Rahim, O.A. Alshahran, D.D. Divakar

ABSTRACT
Background.
Oral health care services are often sparse and inconsistent in India therefore it is often difficult for poor people to get access to the oral health care services. The approach by dental institutions with the help of community outreach programs is a step ahead in overcoming this situation.

Objectives. The study was conducted to evaluate the number of patients, disease pattern and the services provided in the outreach programmes and also effectiveness of patient referral.
Methods. A retrospective study was conducted and the data were obtained from records of outreach programs conducted, in last 2 years by Pacific Dental College and Hospital. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics for the computation of percentages Chi-square test was applied to know the association of effectiveness of referral with age and gender. Confidence level and level of significance was fixed at 95% and 5% respectively.
Results. A total of 22982 individuals in the age group of 4-80 years attended the outreach program. Dental caries (42.3%), periodontal diseases (63.2-69.0%) and dental fluorosis (33.7-35.0%) were commonly observed diseases. Effectiveness of referral was significantly high among the middle age adults and females (P<0.05). The effectiveness of referral was highly improved in 2013 after establishment of certain guidelines and strategies.
Conclusion. The approaches by dental institutions with the help of community outreach programs can spread awareness and disseminate treatment and thereby enhancing access to care and eliminating access to care within the rural communities.

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