A review of the 2030 Human Resources for Health Strategy: Implications for dentistry in South Africa
Keywords:Irrespective, PHC utilization
The South African National Department of Health (NDoH) released a report in March 2020: “2030 Human Resources for Health (HRH) Strategy: Investing in the Health Workforce for Universal Health Coverage”.This report, has implications for the training of dental personnel and the planning of dental services in South Africa(SA). The aim was to summarise and critique the HRH
strategic document with reference to dentistry. This was an independent review of the report and included recommendations and implications for the training of dental personnel in SA. The report employed two models to predict the number of dental personnel that will be required; one on achieving provincial equity and the other on improving access to Primary Heath Care
(PHC) facilities. The calculations were based on dental personnel employed in the public sector and the number of uninsured people in SA. The first model predicted a shortfall of 486 dentists, 60 specialists, 13 Dental Technicians (Dent Tech), 162 Dental Therapists (DTs) and 104 Oral Hygienists (OHs). The second model, based on PHC utilization, predicted a surplus of 341 dentists and a shortage of 1128 OHs and 1164 DTs. In order to meet these shortages, NDoH would have to allocate R840 million or 2.3 Billion rands respectively, depending on which model is chosen. Irrespective of the model utilised, the NDoH needs to create and fill more dental posts, especially in provinces with low dental practitioner to population ratios. Dental training institutions need to align the training of dental graduates to meet the demands as set out in the report.
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