Six dental surgeons from Cuba will be available to work at the primary health care level, when they arrive in the island later this year.
This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, during an interview with JIS News, following a planning and evaluation meeting of the Oral Health Services Unit, at the Alhambra Inn, in Kingston on Tuesday, February 12.
“Very soon, a team will be going off to conduct the interviews, and I would expect them by the first quarter of the 2013/2014 financial year. That is to close the gap and to ensure that parishes, such as St. Thomas, will not be without a dental surgeon in the public space,” he said.
The Minister noted that the addition is expected to assist in boosting the local profession and strengthening the manpower available.
“We have Cubans here who have assessed the dental equipment in all our clinics. Already we have started work in terms of refurbishing clinics across the country and once we can get the manpower and the clinics up and running, then my own expectation is that we will begin to see the numbers coming, in terms of treatment,” he told JIS News.
Dr. Ferguson said the Ministry will be implementing strategies to address the issue of the dental workforce and to enhance access for the most vulnerable and at-risk communities.
The Minister said despite dental services being considered the “poor cousin in the family of health services”, oral diseases and conditions are important public health concerns.
In the meantime, he pointed out that the Ministry will be increasing its promotion of oral and dental care as part of the prevention services at the primary health care level.