People of ancient times believed that the stabbing pain of a toothache was caused by a toothworm, which either had appeared spontaneously or had bored its way into the tooth. According to Loretta Frances Ichord in “Toothworms and Spider Juice: An Illustrated History of Dentistry,” if the tooth pain was severe, it meant that the worm was thrashing about, but if the aching stopped, then the worm was resting.
Fortunately, ancient dental myth has been replaced by scientific understanding and more is being learned everyday about the link between oral health and overall good health.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis are complicated by going without oral health care. It’s not just yellow teeth and plaque – dental problems can develop into gum disease, serious infection and oral cancers. That’s why quality oral health care is not a luxury, but a necessity today. Good oral health is not just a personal responsibility; it is also a community responsibility.
The Keynote speaker Hon. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, MP and Deputy Minister of state of the Ministry of Information on the occasion of the 26th Congress of the Ghana Dental Association held in Accra said “We cannot underestimate the importance of dental health to the general well being of a person. Unfortunately, my personal observation is that a great majority of Ghanaians do not pay so much attention to our oral health as much as we should.
The view among many is that proper dental care is a health care luxury for the rich and well to do in society. For many of us, it is only when we have Dental Health challenges, that we attend to the services of a dental health professional.
For us to make both the preventive and curative arms of dental health care a common feature in the upkeep of our people, we first need significant to improve dental health awareness nationwide”
During the 26th Congress of the Ghana Dental Association, Dr Nsiah-Asare Director General of Ghana Health Service’s address on the current state of Dental Infrastructure in Ghana, 60 years after independence said “To promote oral health, the intervention require some form of infrastructure and technology.
A skilled dental professional cannot serve his/her patient or community when the required infrastructure and technology are not available. Some other professionals in health may be able to serve their client where infrastructure and technology are not available. This cannot be said of dentistry.
Out of about 298 public hospitals and polyclinics, there are only 84 dental facilities (hospital based and independent) in the country. Of this only 54 have equipment in reasonably good condition. The rest are at various state of disrepair.
There are a few private dental clinics mostly in major cities like Accra and Kumasi”
It is good news that Residents of Birim North District, in the Eastern Region, now have access to quality dental care as Vivo Energy Ghana, the Shell licensee, has donated an ultra-modern dental chair to the New Abirem Government Hospital. The donation, which forms part of the company’s community investment programme, was done in collaboration with Newmont Golden Ridge Limited, Akyem Mine.
The ultra-modern dental chair has the following features: an LED display screen which helps patients to view live pictures of what is going on in their mouth so that they can appreciate discussions with the dental surgeon better; an intraoral camera which captures live pictures for diagnosing and for e-records; an inbuilt x-ray viewer that allows dental surgeons to view manually processed x-rays; an LED fast hand piece which emits light when drilling; and a water cooled straight hand piece that allows the dentist to perform surgical extraction much more easily.
At the handing over ceremony, the Managing Director of Vivo Energy Ghana, Mr. Ebenezer Faulkner, speaking to the local community, said: “As a mining community in which our client Newmont operates, your needs are of deep importance to us. With this chair, the New Abirem Government Hospital can deliver dental services to the people of the Birim North District, with its population of about 90,000. This will ease the burden of patients travelling long distances to Kwahu Government Hospital to access dental care.”
The General Manager of Newmont Golden Ridge Limited, Akyem Mine, Mr. Joep Coenen, said the gesture by Vivo Energy Ghana was a true testament its partnership and sense of community spirit: “Newmont will continue to work with all our business partners in a manner consistent with our purpose of creating value and improving lives through sustainable mining” said Mr Coenen.
The District Health Director, Mr. Azarugo, who was full of praise to Vivo Energy Ghana for the gesture, appealed for the support of other corporate institutions to equip hospitals and clinics within the district to an appreciable standard in health care delivery.
The Acting Kotoku Gyasihene and Chief of New Abirem, Obrempong Kwasi Amoh Kyeretwie said: “I am impressed with the massive infrastructure development in the district as a result of Newmont and its business partners, including Vivo Energy Ghana.”
The Ghana Dental Association says, Ayekooo!!!