ABOUT 460,000 people are expected to receive oral healthcare at government dental facilities while 1,511 (79 per cent) kindergartens and 1,206 (95.5 per cent) primary schools in the state respectively will receive oral healthcare under the Incremental School Dental Programme.
Minister of Environment and Public Health Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said in his winding-up speech that the Oral Health Division aims to improve the oral health status of the people, especially school children, as well as to mould an exemplary workforce.
As such, it launched its first master plan – Pinnacle 2010 on July 27 in 2002.
As a result, 25 per cent of six-year-old children and 51 per cent of 12-year-old children in the State were free dental decay in 2009 and the average number of decayed teeth among 12-year-old schoolchildren had decreased from 2.5 in 1997, to 1.3 in 2009.
“In order to sustain the transformation of the oral health service delivery as achieved under the Pinnacle 2010 Master Plan, the Oral Health Division launched its Second Master Plan – Pinnacle 2010 on July 27 this year.
“The objectives are to enhance the quality of life of Sarawakians through continuous improvement in Oral Health Service delivery, to continue to mould an exemplary workforce and to maintain a culture of organisational excellence,” he said.
Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, Bau Hospital will have a dental clinic, and another one has also been proposed for Daro under the second rolling plan (Tenth Malaysia Plan – 10MP).
He also pointed out that the state faces an acute shortage of dental specialists.
As of October this year, only eight out of 18 posts (44.4 per cent) for dental specialists have been filled.
This has hampered efforts to extend specialist care beyond Kuching and Miri.
Despite this, the Oral Health Division continues to be active in implementing quality initiatives.
In 2010, the Dental Specialist Clinic, Sarawak General Hospital emerged as second runner-up in ‘Anugerah Inovasi Kebangsaan, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia’.