Dental experts want essential medicine list revised

By Violet Nabatanzi

The experts say health facilities have been getting dental materials in installments yet they are supposed to be supplied as a whole.

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KAMPALA - Dental experts have called for urgent need to revise the medical essential list in a bid to address the problem of irregularities in the supply of dental materials.

The experts say health facilities have been getting dental materials in installments yet they are supposed to be supplied as a whole  

Dr. Juliet Nabbanja the Principal Dental Surgeon at the Ministry of Health (MOH) said some medicines that work as a combination are supplied separately which makes the other useless.

“Zinc Oxide Eugenol liquid and powder work as a combination yet they are supplied separately,” she said

Nabbanja emphasised that when the medical essential list is revised, they will specify dental materials that they consider very essential and how they should be supplied to health facilities.

“One hospital should not have a pile of Zinc Oxide Eugenol liquid without powder,” She said this during stakeholders meeting on oral health at the health ministry.

Nabbanja revealed that the current number of dental surgeons is low compared to the population although she is optimistic the number of dentists will increase because the number of dental schools is steadily increasing.

According to Nabanja, one dentist treats 170,000 dental patients.

She advised that there is a need to incorporate other providers of oral healthcare to reduce the number of patients one doctor has to handle.

“If a clinic had a dental surgeon, a public health dental officer and a dental nurse, they would handle all the dental procedures. But even those are few living a workload to the dental surgeon,” Nabanja said

Dr. Fred Sebisubi the assistant commissioner pharmacy at MOH said dentists need to come on board and justify what essential commodities for dental care they need on that list.

Sebisubi believes it will inform the procurement process by the National Medical Stores (NMS). He added that they should also be active in terms of ordering the combinations they need.

The senior dental surgeon at MOH Dr. Charles Ssali called for a need to have dental technicians in regional referral hospital to maintain the dental equipment which have broken-down.

"We need mobile technicians to move to different health facilities where the broken equipment are so that they repair them quickly,’’ Ssali said

The experts also called for a need to extend dental services to health center IIIs saying that this will improve dental services in the country. Currently, dental services are provided in Regional Referral hospitals, general hospitals, and Health centers IVs.