24.06.2005 Regional News

Government to establish 21 dental clinics in the country

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Kumasi, June 24, GNA - The government has obtained a seven million-dollar loan from the Dutch government to establish 21 oral health facilities throughout the country. Part of the money will be used to provide equipment for all regional dental health facilities and maintain the existing ones.

Dr David Oppong-Mensah, Chief Dental Officer at the Ministry of Health, said 35 per cent of the loan would be converted into grant. He was speaking on the topic, "Cost of Oral Health Care in Ghana" as part of the 14th annual conference of the Ghana Dental Association (GDA) in Kumasi on Thursday. The three-day conference is under the theme, "The Place of Oral Health in the National Health Insurance Scheme".

Dr Oppong-Mensah said the fund would facilitate the training of nurses and other health personnel in oral health promotion in the rural communities. He said the government spent about 2.34 billion cedis to provide basic dental care services to the people in all the regional hospitals last year.

Dr Oppong-Mensah mentioned some of the factors that contributed to the high cost of oral health as inadequate facilities, absence of preventive care services, cost of toothpaste and ignorance of the importance of fluoride by a majority of the people. He said 80 per cent of all dental cases reported in the regions were due to consumption of confectionaries that contained more sugar and appealed to dental workers to step up their education to enable the public adopt preventive measures.

Mr Agyei Baffuor, Research Officer at the Community Health Department of the School of Medical Sciences, Legon, said inadequate public funding, deficiencies in the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme and the politicisation of the health care user fees had contributed to the inability of the state to provide quality health care delivery to the public. He called for the training of more middle level health personnel to stem the brain drain, which had been a bane on the country's health care delivery.

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