An Overview of Dental Camp

I was recommended to detail about the work that was done during the dental camps I visited last month. I figured that by sharing, I can perhaps shed some light on a part of India that few people are aware of.


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Mommy ❀ Right before the start of the second camp

My mother, Dr Pratibha Athavale, has been conducting dental camps as a freelancer for seventeen years. This means there is no government, religious or politically driven body behind this. She ties up with different socio-voluntary organisations whose the only objective is β€œseva” or service. And that too in the part of the country mostly neglected. The states she has visited are mostly the seven sisters in the North-East India, home to hundreds of tribes and thousands of dialects, which are often limited since there is NO script.

Some of the tribes are relatively developed and have access (albeit broken) to power, network, education etc. On the other hand, some are still clad in loincloths and lead primitive lifestyles. The sanitation checks start from making them aware of the importance of washing their hands and mouths let alone brushing their teeth. This has led to her working with and for all sorts of people – and the takeaway is the same. We may be distinct in terms of culture and traditions but our core values are the same.

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Meet my buddy – he came every day to Hi5! πŸ™‚ P.S. Not a single child cried while they were being administered injections.

This year the camp was in Manipur covering three tribal villages and the camps were for three days in each. A little less than 1000 patients were treated in total – the treatments including scalings and extractions. Medication was provided and clinical advise was also given on a case by case basis. Needless to say, this was completely free of cost! It was amazing to see my mom in such a different light. She was super-woman! At 64, she was on her feet from 7 to 7 with cups of tea and light snacks as sustenance. She needed no fuel – she was operating on pure will and determination.

The dental camp in full swing! Setting up the camp is so much fun πŸ™‚ Thinking through the layout, the power, the lighting!

How does a dental camp work given the complexity of equipments? Well, over the years based on her experiences, Mom has put together a portable clinic complete with a dental chair, compressor, sterilizer and the other fancy stuff. A doctor by profession, she channeled her untapped engineering mind into assembling this.

A great team based in the different states ensures operational stability in the camps. These people have given up their families, their jobs and dedicated their lives completely for the upliftment of these tribes. While the impact at the ground level happens in oral health, another subtle yet powerful turn takes place in the minds of the people. There is a human connect happening with these tribes that has never happened before or has always been at a very base level. This medium starts a dialogue which can further progress into a potential road to bring them into mainstream society!

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Two local assistants from the first village – They picked up the work in a flash and were eager to learn.

I was lucky to be a part of this movement for sometime and tried to make a small difference. After a long time, I came back with a sense of community! It’s a good feeling alright.


οΏΌDo let me know if you have more questions or wish to support the different initiatives taking place for the North-East states.

37 thoughts on “An Overview of Dental Camp

  1. What a lovely Post Prajakta, and I offer my admiration of your Mom’s work. If only more people would forget accumulating possessions and simply give of themselves, the world would be so much happier. The reward for serving the less fortunate is a great inner satisfaction that you are using your own skills and attributes in order to help them. That sense of fulfillment can rarely (in my experience) be found in a regular job.

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      • But she is lucky by choice Prajakta. She could no doubt earn a much higher income from practising in a large city, but she presumably realizes where her sensitivities are… and clearly wanted to make a difference in others lives. Blessed are those who serve others.

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  2. My utmost respect for your mom, Prajakta! Not many people in India have ample knowledge about the NE states. For them, the boundary of India is up to West Bengal, or at the most, Assam. She is doing such a wonderful job for the tribals of these states… hats off to her.

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  3. I’m so glad you got to see your mother in this light and that you helped her. I bet she liked having you there. I’m inspired since she is only a couple years older than me. I hope she takes some time to relax and recharge after her awesome service.

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  4. So.. inspiring.. my FriEnd Prajakta NoW..
    For this selfless giving/sharing of Expert
    Skills in Dentistry among
    those in the North
    East States
    of your
    Country India with
    the least amount of
    access to Modern Technologies
    that do help with all Hygienes
    to Prevent Disease as it’s
    true all areas of
    Sanitation
    have
    cured more Human
    Disease than all of Medicine
    combined for eliminating so many
    Bubonic Plagues of life.. so.. sure.. even
    the so-called lowest classes or as ‘they’
    say castes that provide Sanitation are actually
    the Greatest
    among us
    in
    Preventing Disease
    and of course it helps
    to have teeth to do the most
    basics of eating and i’m not surprised
    that ‘the locals’ didn’t complain about the injections
    for surely they have experienced enough rugged real
    life challenge
    in the Country
    Side of Free
    ways from Modern
    Medicines that they have all
    Naturally learned to cure their
    own pain as that comes through the
    all Natural Healing Potentials within that
    really only come in innate.. instinctual
    and intuitive ways
    of Hands
    on Wilder
    and Freer ways of
    Life as aLWays a Balance
    mY Friend.. A Foundation of Love
    And Grace that your Mom surely Brings to this
    Story that truly is what makes Will and Strength ReaL
    too as shared
    and
    given to
    others.. Bravo
    to her and you too.. mY FriEnd..
    For Helping other Folks Free Like This..
    For Those wHo JusT Do It Are The Richest oF aLL..:)

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  5. I m intern dentist from Govt dental college, ahmedabad . I have attended two medical camps in North East organised by sewa bharati and NMO in my student life.I wish to join Dr pratibha mam for the noble cause by doing dental camps at various locations in india.

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