By Andria Kades
Dental services want to work harder in targeting vulnerable groups of society, permanent secretary of the health ministry Dr Christina Yiannaki said on Tuesday.
She said the department’s budget, which reached €4.3m last year, was being successfully utilised at 99 per cent, particularly in the past five years.
“This exactly, is a result of our efforts to upgrade services, renew equipment and import new technology,” she said.
One of the programmes the Dental Service offers is free examinations for all children in their first year of primary school. Parents are then informed if there are any problems that need to be checked by a dentist.
This has reaped positive results, the service said, with more children getting checked starting from 35.5 per cent in 2012 to 38.1 per cent in 2013, reaching 39.1 per cent in 2014.
“The first dental check-up should be done no later than three-years-old,” and therefore the pilot programme for free check-ups in 15 pre-schools that started in 2012 – 2013 was expanded to 24 schools.
The plan is that gradually, all five-year-olds will be included in the programme.
In terms of collaborating with the private sector, students in the 6th grade of state primary schools– which as of the next academic year will include private schools too – get a check-up after parental consent by a government dentist and then receive a referral note to visit a dentist.
Oral health in all age groups of Cyprus is on a satisfactory level however there are differences between different social and economic groups as well as between locals and foreigners. “This demands that we take targeted measures to eliminate inequality,” Yiannaki said.
Dental Services have also began to cooperate with the Asylum Services since 2014, and through European subsidies started training staff to verify applicants’ age through the use of panoramic radiography.