Recent figures have highlighted the alarming situation in Pakistan, with 95 per cent of people in the country suspected to have untreated dental disease.
Pakistan is nowhere near World Health Organisation targets for oral health and many people are unaware of any dental services in their local area. The World Health Organisation recommends a ratio of 1 dentist to 20,000 people, yet the ratio is 1 dentist to 200,000 people at best in Pakistan.
Figures suggest that there are merely 8,500 dentists in the whole of the country and there is no national oral health plan in place at the moment.
Dentists recently gathered at a symposium on oral health entitled, ‘Restorative Dentistry: Bridging the Gap for a Positive Future’, which was organised by the Islamabad Medical and Dental College.
Dr Khursheed Ahmed – Project Director at the Islamabad Institute of Dental Education & Allied Sciences, said that there are 13,000 registered dentists in Pakistan, yet only 8,500 of them are working at the moment. There are several new dental colleges and about 3,000 new dentists graduating every year; however, there is still a severe shortage of dentists in the country.
Dr Ahmed said that one problem was that most of the graduates are women and up to 70% of them choose not to practice after graduating.