‘Public private partnership on dental facilities will improve oral health’
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has commended the private sector’s effort in providing advanced and equipped dental facilities to improve oral health among residents of the state.
Abayomi who gave the commendation at the commissioning of the Exclusive Smile and One for 10 initiatives by the Beaconhill Smile Group at the weekend, said it is important for the public sector to support and partner with the private sector in providing standard oral health services, especially as they have adequate facilities and expertise to render efficient service delivery.
“It is important use the private sector as a benchmark for standards in the public sector and also to establish some collaboration between the private and public sector in terms of the mobile clinic, foundation and also mentoring some of our young dentists in the public sector,” he said.
According to him, “the government is particular that we do not neglect oral health and that is very typical. Nigerians do not see the oral cavity as something that they should pay attention to, but we want to change that narrative now and be able to particularly create more awareness and more preventative management, especially in young children and our entire population.”
He said everybody needs a dental check up once a year particularly if we must prevent late complications of poor oral hygiene. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Beaconhill Smile Clinics, Dr. Oluwaseun Akinbobola, said the aim of establishing world class dental facilities in the country is to reduce medical tourism, as well as reverse the trend of brain drain in the dental health system by providing adequate and well equipped facility where dentists can practice and improve their knowledge of oral health.
“We are trying to reverse the trend where doctors are relocating to Canada to practice. We are encouraging foreign trained Nigerian doctors to return to the country so we can give our people the best oral care, which they travel abroad to seek,” he said.He said the one for 10 initiatives is to help people in the rural and urban communities access affordable and quality treatment for free, while advising Nigerians to ensure they avoid odd practices and go for check up to prevent severe dental complications.
On his part, the Principal Dentist, Exclusive Smile, Dr. Yasser Dayekh, explained that the initiative, which seeks to bring dental treatment free to the people, is geared towards creating awareness for oral hygiene.
“We just want to bring smiles to lives of people in the community and so we go to community with a dental bag and see how we can reach out to those who do not have the financial capacity. We bring that service to them free of charge and we have been able to touch quite a number of people. That is what we have been doing and once we reach out to a community, what we are saying is for everybody in that community that has oral health issues to come out and access care,” he added.