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Int Dent J. 1999 Aug;49(4):240-8.

Integrating oral health into primary health care--experiences in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Tanzania.

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WHO Collaborating Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


When primary health care (PHC) was developed and implemented in developing countries, oral health was not included. The present consequences are marked disparities in the distribution of oral health care, since conventional dentistry can only serve relatively few people and at high costs. Oral health care is virtually non-existent in rural areas of most developing countries where more than 80 per cent of the population live. More recently, community based oral health programmes have been initiated in some countries to fill the gap. These programmes give more emphasis on oral health promotion and on the prevention of oral diseases than on treatment of its consequences, since history has shown that the latter is ineffective in preventing oral diseases. Unfortunately, most of these oral health programmes have been implemented next to the existing PHC system and hence they face enormous management, logistic and financial problems, which seriously threaten their sustainability. This paper presents a proposal to counteract the problems that many countries face in developing an adequate primary oral health care (POHC) service.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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