With the onset of senescence, the human body, like every other ageing organism, begins to show limitations in the manner it used to function before.
However, one of the most prevalent issues that a majority of elderly grapple with, is related to their teeth. While those who can afford it, can always make do with dentures and teeth replacement surgeries, there is a larger population that struggles to chew food and sadly ends up suffering from geriatric nutritional deficiency.
In order to reduce nutritional, physical and mental problems faced by the elderly after losing their teeth, Kerala’s Social Justice Department has launched a fantastic initiative that will provide free artificial tooth setting for the senior citizens falling under the BPL (below poverty line) category.
Mandahasam, which translates to a smile in Malayalam, aims to bring smiles to the faces of the elderly by supplementing the lack of teeth.
Proposed by a retired assistant director in the department during a seminar highlighting different issues faced by the elderly, the scheme was initially launched across the Zilla level government hospitals and medical colleges in 2016.
“However, the lack of reach and awareness prevented the scheme from being widespread across the state. With the state health department reaching out to private institutions, many dental colleges and dental treatment centres have come forward to be part of the scheme,” says Santhosh, a clerk associated with the Mandahasam initiative, to The Better India.
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People aged 60 and above can apply for the treatment under which they would get the maximum financial assistance of ₹5,000 for fixing the tooth. After collecting the application forms from Zilla panchayat offices, the beneficiary would require producing following documents:
- A copy of Ration card/BPL certificate/Income certificate from concerned Village Officer
- A copy of Aadhaar card/ Election ID/Certificate from Medical Officer
- Essentiality Certificate in the prescribed format from a Dentist
“The final application would be subjected to screening by a panel comprising the District Social Justice Officer, District Medical Officer and a dentist approved by the Social Justice Department, following which the applicant can avail treatment at any of the government or private hospitals listed under the scheme,” Santhosh explains.
This generous initiative by the Department of Social Justice will surely give the elderly population across the state, a genuine reason to smile!
To know more about various schemes undertaken by the department, you can click here.