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Atluri Sriman Narayana
the tooth fairy of Andhra Pradesh


While most dentists might prefer to be in their clinics making money, Narayana regularly sallies forth into villages to organize free dental camps. Once a week he dons his lab coat and drives into the villages in Andhra Pradesh to teach dental hygiene to rural children. Roping in the services of dental college students who want to gain experience, and armed with toothbrushes and toothpaste courtesy Colgate-Palmolive, Narayana has so far brought his message of dental care to 1.5 million children in 20,000 schools.

 

The free dental camps in rural schools cost about Rs 10 per head. Narayana depends on grants to his Sai Oral Health Foundation, and sometimes makes up the shortfall from his own pocket. At the camps there are lectures accompanied by colorful charts and quizzes. Nor is dental hygiene the dentist's only concern. He noticed that village children often had untreated health problems, and now he often takes along other specialists like paediatricians on his trips.

 

Fortunately, Narayana's selfless and unique efforts over the last 30 years have been recognized. In January 2002, he was awarded the Padma Shri.

 

Read more about Narayana and his work in "India Today International" March 4, 2002 issue