VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
THE Ministry of Health has launched its first-ever edition of the national oral health standards of practice for Zambia.
And Minister Joseph Kasonde said in Lusaka during the launch that the development of the guidelines is aimed at harmonising and bringing uniformity in the standards of oral health practice.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined oral health as a standard of health of the oral and related tissues which enable the individual to eat, speak and socialise without active disease, discomfort and embarrassment.
â€œThe ministry is working tirelessly at improving dental health. Oral health is an integral part of the general healthcare system and it is a critical component in the healthcare delivery system,â€ Dr Kasonde said.
The ministry has a running contract with a local company, Kano Dental Limited, to supply dental consumables worth US$1.2 million per year to health facilities countrywide.
Dr Kasonde said the ministry would have achieved part of its objectives if people would be free from oral problems which stand at 70 percent of the population.
â€œWith good oral health, people would be able to eat, speak and smile confidently, a situation we should all aspire for,â€ he said.
Dr Kasonde said the guidelines support and strengthen existing oral health standards guidelines developed by the Health Professionals Council of Zambia.
â€œOur dental facilities must have an utmost clean environment to enhance the well-being, confidence and early recovery of our patients. Well-maintained grounds and painted infrastructure is a must,â€ the minister said.
Dr Kasonde said dental services must be provided by qualified staff to ensure safety of patients and the effective and efficient use of meagre resources.
â€œThose requiring our services, including oral health services, are usually vulnerable and distressed. It is at this time of vulnerability and distress that we must provide a safe, comforting, compassionate environment for them,â€ he said.
Dr Kasonde said cleanliness in the health sector is a responsibility for all.
VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka