There are several universities offering Dentistry in Nigeria and Dentistry has different specialties. Dental Therapy, Dental Technology and Dental Health Technology(Technicians) are other courses which are integral part of the profession. Without these specialties, dentistry is not complete.
These courses painfully are not studied in Nigerian universities but rather it studied in Polytechnics and Colleges of Health and the student graduate with OND and HND except in FUTO where Dental Technology is studied. Efforts has been made for years to upgrade a school like the Federal School of dental technology and therapy to a degree awarding institution to no avail. Dental therapists and dental technologists from the above mentioned institution are not equal with those of FUTO just because of certifications and not in Training. Dental surgery only has the surgical training as the difference from Dental therapy training.
Most of the courses are the same (radiography, periodontics, anesthesiology, pharmacology, orthodontics, oral pathology, anatomy, oral physiology, embryology, etc). The pain is that there is no way for one to further/continue in dental surgery under the Nigerian Education System. Even Dental Technologists with HND cannot do PGD in that same course in FUTO instead, they are demanded to write JAMB and start again from level 100 to do the same course. Direct Entry into any of the universities offering dentistry requires 'A'Level certificate holders, medical Lab scientists, pharmacy, and other medically related courses (to start from second year-200level) and MBBS graduates to start from third year-300 level.
There is no room for Dental therapists/technologists/technicians for Direct Entry into Dental surgery despite that there is no much difference in the courses. The quantum of professional discrimination on Dental Technologists and Therapists with HND is too much and unbearable. The education system of Nigeria needs a rebranding change. There is too much certificate discrepancies in the labour market. Dentistry is not ran as it should like other fields of study. If health professionals are without value in his own land especially when their desire to meet with demands of the patients, then tell me while citizens won't travel to comfort countries to get what they want.
Also Read: New hepatitis C drug can slow heart rate
We need intervention in our university education system. (Attached): Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria states that Nigeria needs about 270, 000 Doctors but they complaint is that only about 35, 000 of them produced are practising in Nigeria... This is a good observation but it will not make any change until professional dichotomy and discrimination is broken and removed entirely. Imagine a situation whereby a dental therapist or dental technologist is not eligible for direct entry to study dental surgery in Nigerian universities instead they accept other medically related courses and A’Level result holders are allowed for DE.
The question now is ”is dental therapy/ technology not medically related?” the politics of Nigeria is wicked, it sits on the truth denying the clear unavoidable and undoubtable fact that d.therapy/ technology are 90% related to d.surgery. Even the licensed practices are not allowed to be practiced by d.therapists/ technologists in Nigerian Hospitals because d.surgeons feel we compete with them which is a mere jealousy. They politically sit on the bill stating that D.therapists/ technologists should be awarded B.Tech after graduation; what a hatred. President Buhari should bring his change into the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the Entire Educational System in Nigeria. I pity those that are sidelined in the medical and related professions. I feel their pain. Infact I drink Pcm for their headache because their plight hurts my head.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.