Private dentists in the country have expressed their displeasure with the rating of dental care as secondary in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
They made the complaints at the second annual general meeting of the Association of Private Dental Practitioners of Nigeria, held in Lagos.
According to them, categorising dental care as a secondary service makes it less accessible to the public.
President of the ASPDN, Dr. Ebere Nwauzor, explained that the health insurance scheme needed to be reviewed.
She said, “The private dentist should be very accessible to the average man on the street. People see dental practice as expensive because they don’t have access to it. They don’t even know that they should go to a dentist and not general hospital when they have tooth ache.
“We have the health insurance scheme that should enable people have access to dental care.
“Right now, the way NHIS is being run, some of us are not benefiting from it as planned. “In the plan, dental care is placed as secondary health care. This means that when a person has dental challenges and walks into a hospital, the doctor must refer him/her to a dentist before she can access dental care.
“What we want and are agitating for is that dental care should be made directly accessible to the patients and it should be regarded as primary health care service.”
She debunked the claims that there were not enough dentists in the country, adding that the current NHIS was affecting penetration of dental services.
“It is only when dental care is rated as primary care that we can begin to move into remote communities.
“How many are we that we still having dentists that have no job? If it is rated as primary, private dentists can begin to penetrate and establish in other rural places.
“It is worrisome that dental issue is the most occurring condition in Nigeria, but unfortunately the least treated. Oral care should be given more importance.”
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