The accessibility to oral health services in Lesotho’s public health sector
Keywords:Lesotho, Southern Africa, Oral Health, Dentist, Dental Therapist, Public Health
Lesotho is a land-locked mountainous country in Southern Africa. Both geography and poverty impact on dental health in low-income patients. Information on the number and function of dentists and dental therapists in public hospitals, are lacking. The aim was to investigate accessibility to oral health services. Objectives were to investigate the number and geographical distribution of oral health personnel and document the availability of dental services in Lesotho. A cross-sectional mixed methods study design was used. Four dental therapists of the six employed by the government, participated in in-depth interviews. Questionnaires about access to oral health services were administered to government employed dentists. The Lesotho National
Department of Oral Health provided information regarding dental patient statistics between 2017 and 2019. It was found that 20 dentists and 10 dental therapists provided limited dental services in public facilities. In 2017, 2018 and 2019; the annual numbers of dental patients were 85 776, 75 148 and 97 425 respectively. Approximately 40% of patients visited two hospitals in Maseru. It was concluded that there was a shortage of oral health personnel, resulting in inadequate access to dental services, particularly in rural
Shale I [Internet] Update: The law and legal research in lesotho. 2014 [cited 2019 July 24]. Available from: https://www.nyulawglobal .org/globalex/Lesotho1.html.
Reuters [Internet] Lesotho pm says army staged coup, flees to south africa. 2014 [cited 2020 June 16]. Available from: https://www.reuters. com/article/us-lesotho-coup/lesotho-pm-says-army-staged-coupflees-to-south-africa-
Fogelman C [Internet] It's the end of an era in lesotho. Mail & Guardian; 2020 [cited 2020 June 18]. Available from: https://mg.co.za/africa/ 2020-05-13- its-the-end of-an-era-in-lesotho/.
Lesotho Government. Census 2016. In: Bureau of Statistics. Maseru: Government Printing; 2016.
LMDPC. Lesotho medical dental and pharmacy council statistics [Unpublished]. 2019.
Bhayat A, Chikte U. The changing demographic profile of dentists and dental specialists in south africa: 2002-2015. International Dental Journal. 2018; 68(2):91-6.
WHO [Internet] Oral health services. 2019 [cited 2019 15 June]. Available from: https://www.who.int/oral_ health/action/services/en/.
Bernabé E, Sheiham A. Tooth loss in the united kingdom–trends in social inequalities: An age-periodand-cohort analysis. Plos one. 2014; 9(8):e104808.
McGrath C, Bedi R. Severe tooth loss among uk adults–who goes for oral rehabilitation? Journal of oral rehabilitation. 2002; 29(3):240-4.
Mndzebele SL, Kalambay JM. The influence of oral health knowledge and perceptions on dental care behaviours amongst adults attending treatment at berea hospital, lesotho : Dental public health. African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance. 2014; 20(sup-1):385-95.
Sheiham A. Oral health, general health and quality of life. SciELO Public Health; 2005.
Vos T, Abajobir AA, Abate KH, Abbafati C, Abbas KM, Abd-Allah F, et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990–2016: A systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2016. The Lancet. 2017; 390(10100):1211-59.
Linden GJ, Lyons A, Scannapieco FA. Periodontal systemic associations: Review of the evidence. Journal of periodontology. 2013; 84:S8-S19.
D'Aiuto F, Gkranias N, Bhowruth D, Khan T, Orlandi M, Suvan J, et al. Systemic effects of periodontitis treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes: A 12 month, single-centre, investigator-masked, randomised trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 2018; 6(12):954-65.
Correa FO, Gonçalves D, Figueredo CM, Bastos AS, Gustafsson A, Orrico SR. Effect of periodontal treatment on metabolic control, systemic inflammation and cytokines in patients with type 2 diabetes. Journal of clinical periodontology. 2010; 37(1):53-8.
Tsai C, Hayes C, Taylor GW. Glycemic control of type 2 diabetes and severe periodontal disease in the us adult
population. Community dentistry and oral epidemiology. 2002; 30(3):182-92.
Kalambay J. Lesotho oral health statistics [Unpublished]. 2019.
Linjewile–Marealle N. Factors influencing utilization of oral health services in lesotho [Unpublished]. University
of Western Cape: University of Western Cape; 2017.
Lesotho Go. Annual joint review 2017-18. In: Health Mo, editor. Maseru2018.
Nash DA, Friedman JW, Mathu-Muju KR, Robinson PG, Satur J, Moffat S, et al. A review of the global literature on dental therapists. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology. 2014; 42(1):1-10.
PublicService. Dental therapist scope of practise [Unpublished]. Public Service Commission; 2017.
Dyer T, Robinson P. Public awareness and social acceptability of dental therapists. International journal of
dental hygiene. 2009; 7(2):108-14.
Ward P. The changing skill mix–experiences on the introduction of the dental therapist into general dental practice. British dental journal. 2006; 200(4):193.
Morojele D. First dental therapists in lesotho. 2019.
SMHSU [Internet] Oral health sciences. 2019 [cited 2019 July 29]. Available from: https://www.smu.ac.za/schools/
NHTC. National health strategic plan 2017-2022. In: Health Mo, editor. 2016.
NationalAssembly [Internet] Legal document: The medical, dental and pharmacy order 1970. 1970 [cited 2019 July
. Available from: https://www.lesothotradeportal.org.ls/index.php?r=site/display&id=48.
Nowell LS, Norris JM, White DE, Moules NJ. Thematic analysis: Striving to meet the trustworthiness criteria.
International journal of qualitative methods. 2017; 16(1):1609406917733847.
Webster PC. Lesotho's controversial public–private partnership project. The Lancet. 2015; 386(10007):1929-
Singh PK. Job satisfaction among dental therapists in south africa. J Public Health Dent. 2014; 74(1):28-33.
Bhayat A, Chikte U. Human resources for oral health care in south africa: A 2018 update. Int J Environ Res Public
Health. 2019; 16(10):1668.
Bhandari B, Newton JT, Bernabé E. Income inequality and use of dental services in 66 cou
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.