Pharmaceutical cost implications for oral healthcare interventions at a dental clinic in Windhoek, Namibia
Keywords:oral health, dental caries, universal healthcare, pharmaceuticals, costs, Namibia.
Half of the world’s 7.9 billion population suffers from oral health conditions. Most are largely preventable and treatable but costs are often unaffordable especially in developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) resolved in 2021 to include oral healthcare interventions in universal healthcare coverage (UHC) programmes. Although the general expenditure on oral healthcare services has been reported by some countries, amounts spent on particularly pharmaceuticals have not been reported. This study aimed to report on the prevalence of different types of oral health diseases in patients attending a dental clinic in Windhoek (Namibia) and quantify the pharmaceutical expenditure incurred. Records for all patients who visited the dental clinic at KIRH during a six-month period (1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021) were reviewed. Costs associated with the respective pharmaceutical management options for the most common oral conditions were calculated based on the approximated cost for a single treatment course per patient.
Pharmaceutical expenditure on oral diseases was approximately 0.4% of the hospital’s annual budget. From this, 94.6% was due to treatment of dental caries which had a 90.1% prevalence. Prevalence of dental caries among 13-19 years age group (9.5%) was lower than for 1-12 years (18.6%) and 20-64 years (68.2%). Cases for dental caries were fewer for the 65+ years age group (3.8%
of total cases) but had the highest prevalence (95.2%) of dental caries then other age groups. The proportion of the pharmaceutical budget spent on treating oral diseases was 0.4%, of which 94.6% was due to dental caries. Promotion of oral healthcare
among children may be instrumental in reducing the pharmaceutical costs associated with treatment of dental carries.
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