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National Oral Health Programme


Prior to 1986, sporadic efforts were made for the introduction of a comprehensive oral health care programme. In 1986, these efforts culminated in the introduction of the first National Oral Health Policy, drafted by the Indian Dental Association.

In 1999, the Ministry of Health Family Welfare launched the first National Oral Health Care Programme on a pilot basis in collaboration with Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. The program was implemented in one district in five States across the country.

In the 11th Five Year Plan, from 2007 to 2012, all disease control programs were coalesced under the National Rural Health Mission under which a token amount was allocated for research and training in Oral Health.

In the 12th Five Year Plan, in 2012, an allocation was made for the set up of a National Oral Health Cell at the Ministry of Health Family Welfare.

In 2014, an expert group for Oral Health steered by Dr. Jagdish Prasad, Director General Health Services, was formed and the National Oral Health Programme in its current form was introduced. The Center for Dental Education and Research (CDER), AIIMS, New Delhi functions as the National Center of Excellence for Implementation of NOHP.

The National Oral Health Programme functions under two components:

  • National Health Mission (NHM) component – Through the PIP (Program Implementation Plan) process, States and UTs can seek support to set up Dental Care Units at the level of District Hospitals and below in order to render oral health services to all. The states and UTs may propose for support for all or any of the following components, as per need:
    • Manpower support [Dentist, Dental Hygienist, Dental Assistant]
    • Equipment including Dental Chair, X-ray units, autoclaves etc.
    • Consumables for dental procedures
  • Tertiary component – Includes activities that are carried out at the central level to further the program’s objectives. These include:
    • Designing IEC/ BCC materials like Posters, TV, Radio Spots, Training Modules etc.
    • Organizing national and regional nodal officers training programs to enhance program management skills and review the status of the program.
    • Preparing State/District level Trainers by conducting national and regional workshops to train the dental and paradental health functionaries in the health care delivery system.

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