Perceptions of Zambian dentists and dental technicians in respect of dental technical services
Mukena, Martha Mutinta
MetadataShow full item record
This study is an evaluation of the perceptions of Zambian dental technicians and dentists of the dental technological services offered in Zambia. Zambia is a small nation (land size of 752,614km²) with a population of approximately 11,000,000. Patients needing oral restorative treatment have two options available to them; they seek treatment in state hospitals or through private practices. Access to prosthetic treatment is difficult due to the difficulties associated with obtaining treatment from the state as well as there being very few privately owned dental laboratories. Dental technology in Zambia dates back to 1964 and since its inception there has been no evaluation as to whether the services offered are adequate and satisfactory. The aim of this study was to; Provide insights into the understanding of dentists and technicians regarding dental technical services. Provide insights into available dental technical services with the aim of assisting in developing future guidelines for provision of such services in Zambia. Identify national oral health objectives and make suggestions for the improvement and development of the services in Zambia. This aims of the research are relevant as the research was conducted at a time when the nation is undergoing a general introspection of service delivery. Data was collected through the medium of semi-structured personal interviews with registered and practicing dentists and technicians in the main cities of Zambia that include Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe. Their views were transcribed and coded according to significant themes that emerged for data analysis. ii The results indicate that there is reason to be concerned about the general quality of service delivery. In addition, the study showed that the working relationships between technicians and dentists require improvement. Moreover, the study established that Zambia has a critical shortage of skilled technicians and particularly ceramic technicians and ceramic dental laboratories. The data also revealed concerns that little attention by government policymakers is being afforded to dental technical services whilst attention is paid rather to clinical dental services. As a result, state owned laboratories suffer from a lack of adequate and functioning equipment as well as a lack of quality dental materials. Finally, the study showed that Zambia has no clear direct oral health policies that govern the dental technical services.