The Ghana Dental Association (GDA) has expressed worry about the lack of integration of oral health into the mainstream health services in the country.
This situation, according to the Association has led to the lack of decision-making on oral health at the Ministry level and ultimately affecting quality service delivery to the general public.
The GDA at their 27th Annual General Meeting from Thursday June 28 to Saturday June 30 revealed that the absence of a Chief Dental Officer at the Ministry of Health, lack of a clear and consistent oral health policy and lack of legal and administrative framework for the governance of oral health is to blame for this development.
The Ghana Dental Association’s AGM was held under the theme “Advancing Dentistry: Unanswered Question” at the Eusbett Hotel, Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo region.
Ghana currently can boast of dental facilities in only 72 districts out of the 275 districts.
Most of these dental clinics are faced with infrastructural and logistical challenges, forcing them to be “near non-functional.”
The GDA is alarmed this trend cements the already limited access to oral health.
In a communique copied to Ultimate News, the Ghana Dental Association added that the “high taxes and cost of dental equipment and materials” is keeping a lot of dedicated professionals away from setting up new dental facilities to augment existing ones.
Below is the communique:
“We the members of the Ghana Dental Association (GDA) having met at our 27th Annual General meeting at the Eusbett Hotel, Sunyani, Brong Ahafo Region from the Thursday June 28 to Saturday June 30 and having deliberated on the theme “Advancing Dentistry: Unanswered Question” do make these observations:
1: Access to oral health service is limited in Ghana. Out of 275 districts in Ghana, only 72 districts have dental clinics. Most of these are ill-equipped and near non-functional.
2: Dental graduates have problems with work placement after the completion of their housemanship training. Brain drain which was curtailed some years back has resurfaced.
3: There are low tariffs on the National Health Insurance (NHIS) and private insurance scheme for companies on dental procedures.
4: The issue of quack dentists continues to create problems for care seekers. They are able to openly advertise their services to the general public whereas professional dentist are barred by law an this does not help the situation.
5: There is a lack of integration of oral health into mainstream health services as a result of:
(a) Absence of a Chief Dental Officer at the Ministry of Health.
(b) Lack of legal and administrative framework for the governance of oral health and affecting running of oral health in the country.
(c) Lack of a clear and consistent oral health policy.
(d) Lack of a specific earmarked funding for oral health.
6: The high taxes and cost of dental equipment and materials has resulted in increased difficulty in setting up new dental facilities and further increasing the cost of providing dental services.
We do hereby resolve that:
1: Government should allocate specified funds/budget for oral healthcare services.
2: There should be a private-public partnership in the provision of dental health care delivery.
3: The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in collaboration with Ghana Dental Association (GDA) should review upwards the dental tariffs towards current market values.
4: The Ministry of Health should take immediate steps to restore the office of the Chief Dental Officer.
5: There is the need for a separate administrative structure backed by a separate national policy on oral health and modalities for effective delivery of oral health care in the country.
6: The Ghana Dental Association should be involved in decision making with respect to oral health at the level of the Ministry and advocacy regarding oral health delivery to the public.
7: The Ghana Dental Association is very ready to work with the Health Ministry regarding placement of house officers to reduce the time spent at home after school as well as wrongful placement.
8: Taxes on dental equipment and consumables should be reduced to create the enabling environment for the growth of dentistry in the country.”