The President of the Ghana Dentist Association has charged the government to demonstrate its commitment towards the dental health of Ghanaians by removing the tax on dental equipment.
Dr Nana Asante-Appiah said the move will help members of the Association to import state-of-the-art-equipment that will help address dental-related issues.
At an event organized by Unilever Ghana to commemorate World Oral Health Day at the Independence Square Tuesday, he lamented it is expensive to buy x-ray machines, dental injectable and other equipment for their work.
“This has become a big challenge for most dentists and for most the easiest thing to do is to remove the tooth when they have other options like filling,” he said.
He explained as a result of the situation members of the Association have been compelled to work with their current machines when they could go for the latest equipment.
The government scrapped seven taxes and reduced four others but the one on the import of medical equipment was not touched, a development the Association has condemned.
A displeased Dr Asante Appiah warns the tax could raise the cost of their services which will make it possible for only the rich in the society to access dental services.
“It is worrisome that dentist and dental service is not getting the attention it deserves, I hope government does more than pay lip service,” he said.
Although he did not touch on the issue, the Health Minister has assured the government is working to make the work of medical practitioners less stressful.
Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said there is currently a collaboration between the University of Ghana Dental School and Kintampo College of Health to train more dentists and dental assistants.
“The uneven distribution of dental clinics is of much concern to us as most of the clinics are located in Accra, Kumasi and very few in the three Northern regions.”
The ratio of dentists to patients in the country reportedly stands at 1:150,000 and about 90 percent of adults between 35-44 years are affected by periodontal diseases.
It has also been revealed about 25 percent of Ghanaians between six to 19 years are affected by tooth decay and a majority of the people are suffering from missing teeth, stained teeth or bad breath.
In a move to curb the situation, the Health Minister in a message read on his behalf by a director at the Ministry said the government is engaging with the appropriate institutions to address the issues.
“Within the coming years provide dental facilities in every district of the country to improve the rather alarming dental challenges,” Acting Director of Traditional and Alternative Medicine at the Ministry, Dr Anastasia Yirenkyi read.
This year’s event held by Unilever Ghana was under the theme; ‘Say Ahh: Think Mouth, Think Health.