Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the Government is moving to widen dental care to rural areas and to the most vulnerable in the society, and is also ensuring that the sector receives significant upgrading, in order to protect the safety of the public.
Delivering the opening address at the 49th Annual Convention of the Jamaica Dental Association (JDA), held on Thursday, May 2, at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, in Rose Hall, Montego Bay, the Minister said reform of the dental sector is on a priority list, and that the post of Director of Dental Services has been elevated to Chief Dental Officer.
“Amendment of the Dental Act, and the Regulations (will be undertaken), as part of the modernization of dentistry in Jamaica, in order to protect the public’s safety, through the setting and enforcement of reliable and consistent standards. I will also ensure the establishment of a national dental examination Board, which will be responsible for ensuring high competent standards,” the Minister said.
“The work is at an advanced stage; we have now received comments from the Attorney General’s Chambers, and we expect some early movement. I call on the leadership in the dental sector to make haste in doing the necessary submissions that should have come out of previous consultations,” Dr. Ferguson urged.
The Minister explained that the reform process would achieve a relevant and modern framework to govern and regulate oral health service in Jamaica, and give it importance as other areas in the medical arena, while extending oral care to underserved sections of the island.
“I am working to ensure that dental services will be a parallel system to that of medicine,” the Minister said.
Dr. Ferguson noted that in line with the reform process, a new Dental Council, Dental Auxiliary Advisory Board and a Dental Appeals Tribunal were recently appointed.
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter