Kampala, Uganda | URN | There are only 16 dental specialists in the country, according to a new report on the status of the health workforce by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC). These are part of the 4,563 medical practitioners that renewed their licenses last year.
Dr. Katumba Ssentongo, the Registrar Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, says there is need for the Health and Education Ministries to prioritize the training of dentistry at both the under graduate and post graduate levels in order to provide quality dental services in the country.
He notes that the cumulative number of Dental Surgeons in the country is still low at 286 licensed practitioners by June 2018. This translates into the ratio of 1: 139,860 (1 Dental Surgeon for every 139,860 people).
In terms of percentages of the registered dental practitioners, none has specialized in prosthodontics (specialists on artificial replacements for teeth), only 1 per cent have specialized orthodontics and restorative dentistry whereas 3 per cent have specialized in oral maxillofacial surgery.
The majority at 95 per cent have specialized in general dental surgery. Overall, 353 new practitioners were registered at the Council from July 2017 to June 2018 bringing the cumulative number of dental and medical practitioners to 6193, to date.
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At least 74 per cent of these renewed their licenses. This means that 26 per cent have either left the profession , are practicing without a license or not in active practice.
While some doctors sought letters of good standing to seek employment abroad, Dr. Katumba said more practitioners from the West come to Uganda, adding the majority standing at 44 per cent were from the United States.
However, according to Katumba their findings that more than 300 doctors qualify to practice annually should alert the government on the increasing need for placement and unemployment. He says it’s now clear that they all can’t be absorbed in public health facilities.