Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Filter by Categories
Academy Activities – ADI Reports
Academy Activities- ADI Comments
Academy Activities- ADI Convocations
Academy Activities- ADI Cover story
Academy Activities- ADI International projects
Case Report
Guest Editorial
Letter to Editor
Letter to the Editor
Opinion Corner
Opinion Piece Article
Opinion Piece Articles
Original Research Article
Policy Papers
Research Article
Review Article
Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis
View/Download PDF

Translate this page into:

3 (
); 1-2

Volunteerism in COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Corresponding author: S. M. Balaji, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, 30 KB Dasan Road, Teynampet, Chennai - 600 018, Tamil Nadu, India.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

How to cite this article: Balaji SM. Volunteerism in COVID-19 pandemic. J Global Oral Health 2020;3(1):1-2.

Oral health has been increasingly recognized as a part of basic human right.[1] Good oral health is essential for proper systemic health and thus well-being.[2] Still, about 6 in 10 of the world population lack appropriate and affordable oral health care.[1] Besides several factors, non- availability of oral health-care professionals is a prime deterrent of oral health-care-seeking behavior. To address this as well as by compassion, desire to help, many oral health-care professionals provide volunteer service in such areas that are devoid of or have underdeveloped oral health care system.

Such volunteerism is altruistic in nature and often involves short-term missions often with curative approach aim. It is often with little or no long-term benefits.[3,4] Still there is no primary health care (PHC) model adopted by dental NGOs.[1] In light of the growth of dental volunteerism, it should be understood that the existing model has deficiencies as they do not

  • Primarily focus on preventive aspects

  • Engage and monitor preventive aspects of dentistry in host community

  • Does not enrich the local talent pool

  • Lack quality assurance, monitoring, and performance control

  • Lack sustainability or develop self-reliance on longer term.[5,6]

The novel COVID-19 pandemic has evoked a severe protective response. Still most of the world suffer in terms of social-physical distancing, lockdown measures, and discouraging of non- essential services across all professions. Dentistry per se has also undergone severe disruption with professional societies coming out with their guidelines. Universally, only emergency and urgent procedures are being carried out.[7]

Oral health care and its burden on remote communities and people who cannot afford professional oral health care have been largely it is impossible to provide them with appropriate care in these situations. Travel ban and/or restriction, cancellation or redirection of allocated funds, and diverting workforce to COVID-19-related duties are increasingly being heard. All these could collectively contribute to the oral health-care burden, in the immediate POST- COVID-19 or during the late POST-COVID-19 situation.

During these testing times, the dental volunteers should ensure that they screen patients for COVID-19 by using screening techniques and if warranted, CT scans. This is crucial as one would need to stay safe and also not to transmit the virus. Similarly, before and after the mission, they have to subject themselves to COVID19 tests in the better interest of themselves, their families, and the community that they serve.

This burden is not only to dentistry but collectively felt by all non-communicable diseases.[8] The civil societies and organizations that engage in community dental volunteerism and NCDs need to develop strategic plans and be prepared for a wave of NCD and oral health illness. At this point of time, perhaps, they could evolve newer models of dental volunteerism that encompass the PHC model and remove all the negative aspects of existing dental volunteerism model.


  1. , . Implementation of a basic package of oral care: Towards a reorientation of dental NGOs and their volunteers. Int Dent J. 2006;56:44-8.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  2. , , , , , , et al. Oral diseases: A global public health challenge. Lancet. 2019;394:249-60.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  3. . Oral health of poor people in rural areas of developing countries. J Can Dent Assoc. 2005;71:753-5.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. , . Dental volunteering-a time for reflection and a time for change. Br Dent J. 2011;210:513-6.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  5. , . Dental aid organizations: Baseline data about their reality today. Int Dent J. 2002;52:309-14.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  6. . Quinonez C. Dental volunteerism: Is the current model working? J Can Dent Assoc. 2013;79:d69.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. , , . Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Emerging and future challenges for dental and oral medicine. J Dent Res. 2020;99:481-7.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  8. , . COVID-19 and non-communicable diseases. Postgrad Med J 2020:1-2.
    [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Fulltext Views

PDF downloads
View/Download PDF
Download Citations
Show Sections