Human resources for oral health care in South Africa : a 2018 update

Bhayat, Ahmed ; Chikte, Usuf M. E. (2019)

CITATION: Bhayat, A. & Chikte, U. 2019. Human Resources for Oral Health Care in South Africa : a 2018 Update. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(10):1668, doi:10.3390/ijerph16101668.

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To describe the current oral health care needs and the number and category of dental personnel required to provide necessary services in South Africa (SA). This is a review of the current disease burden based on local epidemiological studies and the number of oral health personnel registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). In SA, oral health services are rendered by oral hygienists, dental therapists, dentists, and dental specialists. Dental caries remains one of the most prevalent conditions, and much of them are untreated. The majority of oral care providers are employed in the private sector even though the majority of the population access the public sector which only offers a basic package of oral care. The high prevalence of caries could be prevented and treated by the public sector. The infrastructure at primary health care facilities needs to be improved so that dentists performing community service can be more effectively utilized. At present, SA requires more dental therapists and oral hygienists to be trained at the academic training institutions.

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