Tanzania faces a shortage of dental health practitioners

Dr Baraka Nsabo, National Oral Health Coordinator at the Ministry of Health, told Dar es Salaam that the country’s demand stands at 171.

He said out of 70 oral practitioners available, 68 are in Dar es Salaam and the rest are in Morogoro and Dodoma town.

Dr Nsabo revealed this on the sidelines of the Young Leaders Conference 2022 which aimed to redefine the concept of leadership and introduce skills for community engagement in oral health.

He said the conference focused on leadership in oral health for young oral health professionals from Eastern and Southern Africa, bringing together 26 participants from Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

He said out of 9,726 health centers nationwide, only 597 provide oral health services, bringing the services offered to 6.3%.

Moreover, the country has only 404 dental therapists out of 2,500 required to provide quality oral health services.

According to him, oral diseases are increasingly recognized as a major public health problem that has direct consequences on the social and economic status of the community.

“We are encouraging more young people to take dental courses to fill the gaps in the shortage of oral health practitioners in the country,” he said.

“The goal of the conference is to improve oral health by expanding attendees’ leadership knowledge while engaging them in meaningful discussions that advance oral health in their region,” he added. .

Additionally, it will provide a platform for attendees to identify and forge solutions to current oral health challenges through a region-specific lens.

According to Miracle Corners, MC-Tanzania Country Director, Venance Ngungo, community leaders are driving change in their communities.

“Addressing the challenges means recognizing oral health professionals as community leaders whose efforts are a necessary catalyst for change,” he said.

The President of the Dental Association of Tanzania, Dr. Deogratisa Kilasara, said that equipment, shortage of clinics and lack of manpower, political challenges and lack of medical supplies are the main challenges facing Tanzania is facing to offer oral health services.

He said that in Tanzania, 76% of Tanzanians face oral health problems associated with the consumption of sweet products.

Dr. Kilasara said the Young Leaders Conference leverages leadership to address region-specific issues through networking and guided discourse on community issues.

It mobilizes participants to find solutions to their communities’ most pressing needs in the areas of health, education and economic security.

This year’s conference is co-hosted by MC-Tanzania and its subsidiary MCW Global. His vision is for communities across Tanzania to live free of oral disease. MC-Tanzania is a subsidiary of MCW Global.