Why community oral health centre must flourish —Don
A former deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Gbemisola Oke, has said that establishing more community oral health care centres all over Nigeria to boost access to oral health services is vital for attainment of health for all.
Professor Oke, speaking at the 30th anniversary of Idikan Primary Oral Healthcare Centre, Ibadan, said such health Care centres at the community level would also improve early detection and treatment of many diseases.
The coordinator and initiator, Idikan Primary oral Health Care Centre, said replicating a model as the Idikan centre would ensure a cost effective and an improved access to dental care, especially at the grassroots.
According to her, “Our experience at Idikan Primary Oral Health Centre shows that it has been impactful. When we started out, awareness on oral health was very poor, but it has improved significantly.
“Idikan was a test location for community healthcare delivery. The government should replicate this in other parts of Nigeria. It has been shown that delivering primary health oral health care in the community is possible.”
Acting head, Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, University College Hospital, Professor Juliana Taiwo, said that gum disease was the most common dental problem seen at the clinic.
According to her, “Many dental diseases start quietly in the mouth without people realising it. So, it is important to have regular dental check up so that such can easily be detected and treated. Also, many medical diseases like diabetes are first diagnosed during a dental check up.”
Prof Taiwo decried the myths and misconception on oral health dental, saying this was still a challenge preventing many people promptly accessing dental care in Nigeria.
Dr Olusola Ibiyemi, also a community dentist, said funding remain a challenge to dental care services.
He declared that treatment at Idikan Primary Oral Health Care Centre could only be subsided, rather than made free because dental equipment and materials are expensive.
The centre, which offers home dental care visits for the elderly and vulnerable, Dr Ibiyemi said also, facilitates treatment of referred cases to other dental hospitals with higher expertise.
Earlier, Dr Adejoke Fatunde, Executive Director, Dental Outreach for Africa, the clinic was one of the four the body was involved in, boosting oral health care in Nigeria.
She added, “it is amazing the remarkable work being done by this clinic and how it has imparted lives over the past years. I am happy that the mission did not die but continue to grow.”