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CREATE DENTAL UNITS IN RURAL AREAS – ANGARA

Lack of funds should not bar Filipinos from getting proper dental care.

Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the creation of a dental unit in each of the rural health units of the Department of Health (DOH) so that all Filipinos, particularly the poor, will have access to dentists.

“A lot of Filipinos refuse to consult a dentist due to fear that it might be too costly.” 

“Marami sa ating kababayan na ayaw magpatingin sa dentista dahil lang sa takot nila na kailangan magbayad ng napaka mahal na halaga. Dahil dito, malaking bahagi ng ating populasyon ay may mga sirang ngipin na hindi napapaayos,” Angara said.

Ninety two percent of the population is suffering from dental caries, while 78 percent have gum diseases, according to the DOH.

A 2015 study suggested that the Philippines has the highest number of people wearing dentures in Asia.

In 2016, the Philippine Prosthodontic Society estimated that around 7 million Filipinos have never seen a dentist due to the misconception that accessing dental care is expensive.

It has been reported that around 80 percent of the population is suffering from some form of dental problem in 2018.

“We want to avoid situations where someone with dental problems miss time from work or school and end up failing their grades or are fired from their jobs.”

“Clearly, this is a problem, which if not addressed, would lead to minor inconveniences such as losing sleep and more serious consequences including loss of productivity. We want to avoid situations where someone with dental problems miss time from work or school and end up failing their grades or are fired from their jobs,” the veteran legislator said.

Under Senate Bill 962, the seasoned lawmaker called for the creation of a dental unit in every rural health unit under the supervision of the DOH, “as part of the primary health care approach.”

A dental unit consists of a public health dentist and a trained barangay health worker, who will serve as the dental aide.

The Philippines is a signatory to the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978, which called on all governments to “formulate national policies, strategies and plans of actions to launch and sustain primary health care as part of a comprehensive national health system in coordination with other sectors.”

“Nearly four decades have passed since the country signed the declaration and through the years the Philippines’ primary health care system has grown and has made some modest gains. Several gaps however remain, including the lack of an institutional means of promoting and ensuring the dental health of every Filipino,” the senator said.

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