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Kenya faces acute shortage of dentists

The low number of registered dentists in the country has hampered Government’s fight against rising cases of oral diseases.

According to the Kenya Dental Association, the number of registered dentists in the country currently stands at 793 serving millions of Kenyans suffering from oral diseases.

Kenya Dental Association Chairman, Dr. Tim Theuri said one dentist in Kenya serves over 70,000 persons against the World Health Organization recommendations of 7,000.

Dr. Theuri said the low number of dentists is posing a huge challenge in addressing various forms of oral diseases which he said were on the rise due to changes in diet among Kenyans.

Speaking during the Association’s 39th Annual Conference in Naivasha, Dr. Theuri called for concerted efforts to address the diseases by employing more dental health workers.

He called on county governments to employ more dentists to enhance oral health among Kenyans.

Dr. Theuri at the same time said there is need to deploy cutting edge technology to enable dentists detect diseases faster and administer much needed treatment more efficiently.

He called upon various stakeholders to partner with local institutions to undertake more research on present and emerging dental diseases to ensure proper treatment.

Dr Theuri said the association is working closely with community health workers to boost disease surveillance by equipping them with necessary skills and tools for enhanced dental screening.

On his part, Nakuru County nominee for Health docket, Dr. Samuel Mwaura decried the low number of dentists which he said is not enough to handle increasing number of patients.

Dr. Mwaura said the country has only 172 specialized dentists with Nakuru having only five adding that the new administration is keen to invest more on training to boost this number.

He decried the large population suffering from fluorosis in parts of Naivasha, Gilgil and Bahati due to the high quantities of fluoride in water sources.

Mwaura added that the county is already investing heavily to provide fluoride free water to tackle widespread teeth discoloration among residents.

He said the county purpose to invest in technology to ensure early diagnosis, screening and treatment.

By Erastus Gichohi

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