On March 16 of this year People’s Health Radio did a recap show on the Smile with Dignity campaign, a grassroots effort by local organization the Alliance for People’s Health to include basic dental care under the BC Medical Services Plan. (https://peopleshealthradio.wordpress.com/category/dental-care/). The campaign has 3 demands:
1. Include basic preventive and restorative care under the BC Medical Services Plan;
2. Access to dental care be determined by need and not ability to pay;
3. Structural issues undermining equality in dental care be addressed.
On this show we spoke with the organizers from the Alliance for People’s Health, health researcher Bruce Wallace and members of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users about how the current provision of dental care services in BC adversely impacts the health and well-being of families, older people and poor and working class people in this province.
Since our show in March the Smile with Dignity campaign has been steadily building momentum, continuing their social investigation and talking to people on the streets of Vancouver about their difficulties accessing appropriate, timely and affordable dental care. These stories are uploaded on a regular basis to the Smile with Dignity campaign blog: http://smilewithdignity.wordpress.com/
Different media sources besides People’s Health Radio have been covering the campaign’s development. The Georgia Straight recently posted this article online: http://www.straight.com/article-413227/vancouver/campaign-dentistry-streets-vancouver, and on August 3rd the CBC Early Edition interviewed Smile with Dignity organizer Azar Mehrabadi about the campaign: http://www.cbc.ca/earlyedition/past-episodes/2011/08/03/dr-lin-west-vancouver-heritage-new-hep-c-drug-calling-for-transfer-fee-changes-cherry-tree-rot-smile/ (go to 1:49:19).
We will continue to report on the progress of the Smile with Dignity campaign as they prepare to take their demands to the street and push our provincial government to expand MSP to include dental care for all.