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06.10.2005 Health

Ministry of Health to collaborate with other sectors to improve on oral

By GNA
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Hohoe, Oct.06, GNA - The Ministry of Health (MOH) is to collaborate with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other partners to ensure that oral health was promoted to create awareness for an increase demand for health delivery. Dr Mrs Gladys Norley Ashitey, Deputy Minister of Health who announced this said the Ministry with the assistance from the Dutch Government would construct 21 dental facilities throughout the country.

Dr Ashitey was speaking at the launching of this year's National Oral Health Week celebration at Hohoe, under the theme "Lifestyle and Oral Health". The Ghana Dental Association (GDA), under the auspices of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), UNILIVER and World Dental Federation (FDI), are organizing the weeklong programme. Dr Ashitey said to achieve better health care delivery, the human resource based of the oral health specialist, dental surgeon and some supporting staff were being trained in addition to the provision of other incentive schemes such as vehicles, housing and rural incentive packages.

On the present oral health situation, she said the country had been characterized by low oral health awareness, poor oral hygiene and high level of gum diseases associated with chronic bad breath that called for sensitization and oral disease prevention programmes targeting vulnerable groups.

Dr Ashitey said the UNILIVER, GDA and FDI partnership was a new international initiative to support Ghana, Nigeria and La Cote d'voire in the provision of oral health education for school children, dental screening at school and community level, the provision of preventive dental care and referral cases for the next three years. She said the package, which entailed training of resource persons including dentists, teachers and dental nurses was scheduled to start before the end of the year in Volta, Ashanti and Central regions. "It is my prayer that the project would be sustained to complement the Ministry's effort to improve oral health in the country", Dr Ashitey added.

Dr Chloris Adedevoh, Principal Dentist of the GHS said Ghana's population ratio of one dentist to 150,000 people had outstripped the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended ratio of one dentist to 80,000 people which implied that there was an acute shortage of oral health personnel at all levels of health service delivery. She advised that as the Government and other partners were trying to improve on the situation, chiefs, politicians and religious leaders should join the crusade to educate the youth on the hazards of tobacco and alcohol consumption to reduce the burden of oral diseases in the country.

Mr Joseph Kwaku Nayan, Deputy Volta Regional Minister noted that as a result of the deficiency in dental facilities and dentists there was a backlog of untreated oral diseases with its associated problems and ill health. He said the solution was the prevention and control of oral diseases through oral health promotion programme.

Dr Henry Arde-Acquah, Volta Regional Director of Health Services said a permanent collaboration between district assemblies and GHS would give positive impetus to the realization of good oral health by all. He called on Ghanaians to adhere to the basic tenets and traditional norm which encouraged good oral health delivery. Mrs Akisi Kplomedo, Brand Manager, Oral Care of UNILIVER said the company was the only institution promoting an initiative aimed at improving oral health globally as opposed to promoting products.

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