Dental Health: building capacity, skills and competence

In the years since the war, Timor-Leste has had almost no dental health care available.

Despite great gains in other areas of health, dental care continues to be a severe gap in the nations health care capacity.

Dental Health in Timor Leste

Current dental services in Timor-Leste lack appropriate resourcing in equipment and consumables, with emergency dental care (mainly extractions) currently the focus.

Even at this lowest level, inadequate training and supervision of dental staff can lead to poor outcomes, including chronic pain, nerve injury, bleeding complications, bacterial endocarditis, and accidental transmission of blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B.

qualified dentists in Timor-Leste

qualified dental nurses

over

people needing dental care

That’s less than one dentist for every 180,000 people in Timor- Leste

Current dental services in Timor-Leste lack appropriate resourcing in equipment and consumables, with emergency dental care (mainly extractions) currently the focus.

Even at this lowest level, inadequate training and supervision of dental staff can lead to poor outcomes, including chronic pain, nerve injury, bleeding complications, bacterial endocarditis, and accidental transmission of blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B.

Establishment and supervision of clinical standards is badly needed, yet very difficult to provide.

How Maluk Timor is helping build the dental health capacity of Timor-Leste

1. Working with our supporters

We are working with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon’s as well as the Timorese Ministry of Health to offer the best possible standard of training and care to the next generation.

Maluk Timor is working in partnership with a group of eminent dentists from Australia who are dedicated to raising the standard of dental health in Timor-Leste. These dentists have already designed and equipped a busy dental service providing free care to all patients.

They  facilitated the resourcing, maintenance and procurement of dental equipment and supplies, and have provided regular supervision of the two registered dental nurses practicing there.

They hope to relocate and expand this service by co-locating it with a Community Health Centre (CHC) in Dili. It will then be developed as a clinical training site to allow trainee dental nurses to observe and gain experience.

2. Promote dental health

It is well understood, however, that what is most badly needed is widespread health promotion of dental health. Maluk Timor will commit further energies to support the existing school outreach  initiatives (One-2-One Charitable Trust, and Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Future) to prevent oral disease, in keeping with the objectives of the Strategic Development Plan (2011-2030). Additionally, Maluk Timor will form a partnership with the Balibo Dental Clinic (Balibo House Trust) to support the sustainability of that program.

3. Dental Training Workshops

As the capacity of the dental centre increases, dental nurses (and students) from around the country will be invited to spend time in the centre as observers and practitioners, undergoing a structured competency program (co-designed by Maluk Timor, ADETIL and the Ministry of Health) to promote consistent clinical standards nationally.

Expanded public health initiatives to promote dental health in Timor-Leste will be supported by Maluk Timor dentists, with a focus on reaching school-aged children and their parents.

 

This whole program is being built as a model for the Timorese government to adopt and expand to cover the entire nation.

Latest news from our dental training program

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