UGANDA HAS ONLY 200 DENTISTS IN POPULATION OF 35 MILLION

By Taddeo Bwambale

KAMPALA, March 21– Uganda has only 200 dentists serving a population of 35 million, or one dentist per 175,000 people, against a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of one dentist per 7,500 people, says State Minister for Health Dr Elioda Tumwesigye.

He made the disclosure while launching activities to mark World Oral Health Day in Kampala on Thursday, held to celebrate the benefits of oral health and to raise awareness about the value of oral hygiene.

More than 51 per cent of Ugandans have suffered from dental diseases. About 76 percent of children under the age of five and 93 per cent of adults suffer from tooth decay, according to the Ministry of Health. At least 71 per cent of the affected people have tooth decay and 43 per cent bad breath.

He blamed the increase in oral diseases on consumption of sugary foods in the regular diet, use of counterfeit toothpaste, tobacco use and poor access to dental health care.

In addition to dentists, Uganda has 400 dental officers who are not university graduates but diploma holders but most of them are largely urban-based.

Globally, 90 per cent of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases ranging from caries, periodontal diseases, tooth decay and cancer, according to the WHO.

As part of efforts to improve access to dental health services, all regional referral hospitals in Uganda have been supplied with dental equipment and a dentist, the Minister stated.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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