Oral Health & Dentistry in Bhutan: call for actions to address a public health urgency
Keywords:Health policy; Oral health outcome; Universal health coverage.
Introduction: Bhutan’s healthcare approach in achieving the sustainable development goal 3 (SDG 3) has been largely through
primary healthcare as enshrined in the universal health coverage (UHC). Bhutan has forged a unique primary healthcare model in
which oral health is integrated in its primary care initiatives. The Oral Health program under the Department of public health was
established in 1999 with clear line objectives. The program has achieved commendable successes over the years. However, with
changing needs, enhancing and mainstreaming of oral health and dentistry in the country must be accorded a top priority. This is
particularly important as the Oral Health Policy and service standards were drafted fourteen years ago in 2007. The 2021 World
Health Orgnization (WHO) agreement “to provide basic oral health services to all”, to which Bhutan is signatory, needs to be
strictly implemented. Therefore, oral health dialogue was conducted to deliberate on the oral health systems in the country with
experts from the field who were from within and outside Bhutan. This oral health policy dialogue generated important themes
such as strategic and competent workforce, capacity development, need to transform oral health services in more people centric
ways and mainstreaming oral health in other health policies.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Karma Tenzin, Tshewang Gyeltshen, Gyan P Bajgai, Sonam Nyedup, Choki, Jyotsna Rimal, OP Kharbanda, Dechen Wangmo, Gampo Dorji
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