Evaluation of oral hygiene services in selected public health facilities in Lusaka district of Zambia
Accepted: 5 July 2018
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.
Around the globe many people are suffering from oral pain and other problems of the mouth or teeth. This public health problem is growing rapidly in developing countries where oral health services are limited. This study was conducted in the public health centers and first level hospitals with dental units (DUs) in Lusaka district. Adequacy of dental equipment, instruments and materials required for scaling and polishing (S&P) and oral hygiene instructions (OHI) was evaluated. Challenges faced by the dental therapists (DTs) in the entire DUs were also evaluated. This was a mixed method study; quantitative data was collected using a structured questionnaire which contained a standard facility assessment check list. Qualitative data was collected by conducting in-depth interviews. The study results showed that the oral hygiene services offered by the selected DUs in Lusaka district were inadequate. A fully functional dental chair was available only in fifty percent of the DUs, only twenty percent of the facilities had fully functional ultrasonic scaling unit, none of the facilities had all the instruments for polishing. The DTs work under stressful conditions as sixty percent of the facilities were understaffed; the supply of dental instruments and materials was poor; delay in repairing faulty equipment; risk of exposure to air borne infections as most of the facilities have space and ventilation problems. Recommendations of this study point towards an urgent need to improve and coordinate the oral health care system.