Over 4 million students receive free dental care

Ha Noi, Dec. 20 (VNA)-- An additional 300 dental clinics were set up under the school-based dental care programme this year, providing oral care to 600,000 more students.

To date, more than 4 million, or 25 percent of primary school children nationwide, have received free-of-charge dental care at 2,050 school-based dental clinics. The programme has been developed in provinces and cities throughout the country with its reach extending to all communes and wards in Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh and Hai Duong provinces. It has also focused on training for dentists at provincial, district and communal levels in mountainous provinces.

Particularly, It has been successfully implemented in the northern mountainous province of Bac Can which used to be known as a "white area" for healthcare. Bac Can now has its own odonto-stomatology and maxillo-facial department. The programme also helped the province build odonto-maxillo-facial departments in seven districts and a number of communal dental clinics.

The school-based dental care programme has been implemented in Viet Nam for six years with funding of more than VND 30 billion (USD 2.1 million), including VND 23 billion in aid granted by international organizations in the form of dental care equipment, tooth-brushes and tooth-paste.

The sound operation of dental clinics under the programme has helped many localities reduce the number of school children under 12 years suffering from dental decay by between 50-70 percent and gum disease by between 60-70 percent.

A survey conducted last year by the Odonto-Stomatology and Maxillo-Facial Institute warned that more than 81 percent of children aged between six and eight years suffered from dental decay; more than 87 percent of 18-year-old people and nearly 99 percent of those aged 45 and older also suffered from dental decay.

From now to 2010, Viet Nam will strive to meet the target of all teenagers having healthy teeth and between 50 and 80 percent of primary and junior secondary school students receiving regular dental care at school.

Next year, the school-based dental care programme plans to set up 300 more dental clinics to provide oral care for an additional 600,000 students. The programme will also promote dental care training for dentists of localities, particularly mountainous provinces.--VNA