Dental health professionals attend annual workshop in San Pedro Town

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Government dentists and other dental health professionals were on Ambergris Caye for two days as part of their annual dental workshop. The event took place on May 16th and 17th at Banana Beach Resort in San Pedro Town and had the participation of about 20 government dental workers. During the two days the participants got to discuss issues relating to dentistry in the government run public health facilities in ten different outposts.

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Heading the government dental workers is Doctor Rafael Samos, Senior Dental Surgeon in the Dental Department of the Ministry of Health. According to Dr. Samos, the annual conference is held in different venues annually and for the first time, San Pedro Town was the host. “We gather all the dental staff in the Ministry of Health from the dental assistant to the auxiliary dental officer to dentist from all our clinics. In all, we have ten dentists working with the government and ten dental assistants and two auxiliary dental officers. We take into consideration all the activities and statistics we do throughout the year and we build up on that. We also take time out to discuss the action plans, we discuss challenges and try to come up with solutions and we also look at the way forward for the next year,” explained Samos.

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For the Ministry of Health dental health issues and concerns have increased over the years. One of the most common issues continues to be tooth decay. According to Samos, each region’s dental problem is unique and it all depends on a number of dietary practices. “You will find that some regions may have a lot of cavity problems, especially with children attending school. You will find that such problems have a lot to do with the students’ diet, and their exposure to snacks. We have seen unfortunate cases like in San Pedro Town, where children have quite a lot of cavity issues. We can only assume that it’s the exposure these children have to sugary snacks from street side vendors. Compare the school children of San Pedro to school children in other places in the same central region, their snacks for instance are fruits and so forth – a healthier snack and less decay problem,” said Samos. He added, “Our main goal is to use our resources at the Ministry of Health to fight dental issues – we need to declare war on these dental problems.”

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During the conference, the dentist of the year was announced, as well as the dental assistant of the year. The award is intended to recognize the work of dentists and dental assistants in the public health facilities that often time is not acknowledged. Dentist of the year was awarded to Dr Glenda Major while Dental Assistant of the year went out to Ariola Zuniga, both of Corozal Town. They both got trophies sponsored by the Santiago Castillo Group of Companies via Orbit. The honorees get to keep their trophy for one year, after which they hand them over to the following year’s winner. In addition, Major got a $200 gift certificate while Zuniga got a $100 gift certificate from Santiago Castillo Group. Congratulation!

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