The Ghana Dental Association (GDA) has held its 25th Anniversary and 2016 Annual Congress, with a call on government to reduce Valued Added Taxes (VAT) imposed on imported dental medical equipment and products.
The President of the association, Dr Nana Asante Appiah, who made the call, said equipment used in the profession are imported and the excessive VAT charges put intense pressure on the sector’s financial capacity.
He revealed that governments of countries around the globe provide subsidies on imported medical equipment; a move he says complements the efforts of private participation. The ceremony was held under the theme “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body: the role of GDA in 25 years and beyond”.
It saw in attendance present and past executives of the GDA, association members and dental medical students, as well as members of the general public.
Challenges: Speaking more on the challenges facing the sector, the GDA President bemoaned the lack of employment of dental personnel in the country.
Currently, he said there are about 300 dentists practicing in the country: a dentist to 85, 000 people. “When you go to the Northern region there are only two dentists, the Volta has just one. This development is putting enormous pressure on the few personnel and it is hindering our efforts to provide quality services to Ghanaians,” he observed.
He observed that the use of NHIS cards to foot dental medical bills puts financial strain on health facilities, adding that “monies that NHIS card carriers pay to practitioners mostly cannot even cater for the drugs or injections given to them”. Furthermore, he bemoaned the attitudes of Ghanaians towards dental healthcare by not attending regular dental checkups.
Advice: The Chairman of the Medical and Dental Council, Dr Eric Asamoah, called for a regulatory body and a law that would regulate the dentistry profession and review its operations.
“The GDA must draft a standardized law to regulate the profession. This will serve as a benchmark for what is right or wrong in the field,” he said. He further advised dentists around the country to eschew deviant practices that would drag the name of the profession in the mud.