Monday, July 02, 2007

10 Years To Overcome Dentist Shortage

KUANTAN, July 1 (Bernama) -- Malaysia needs at least 10 years to achieve its target of achieving the ratio of one dentist for every 4,000 people, said a Malaysia Dental Council member Mej-Jen (Rtd) Datuk Dr Mohd Termidzi Junaidi.
He said the present ratio was 1:9,000, while the country could now only produce between 400 and 500 dentists a year either trained locally or abroad.
The local universities producing dentists are Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), Penang International Dentistry College, and Asia Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology.
Dr Mohd Termidzi who is also the dean of IIUM's Dentistry Faculty, said institutions of higher learning had to overcome the shortage of dental specialists as lecturers, which resulted in low enrolment of students.
For example, he said, the recently set up IIUM's Dentistry Faculty was facing a shortage of lecturers.
"We could only enlist seven lecturers and 50 students for our first intake," he added.
He said IIUM had received an allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) to renovate a building into specialist and out-patient clinics.
"We hope the facilities could attract local and foreign lecturers to serve IIUM so that we can increase the student intake," he told Bernama today.
Dr Mohd Termidzi also hoped that all dentistry faculties would collaborate, especially in research and development, to produce dental products for the global market.
On dental health care, Dr Mohd Termidzi who was formerly the Armed Forces dentistry director, said overall it was good, especially among school students, due to various programmes conducted by the Health Ministry and Education Ministry.
"On the other hand, many adults especially senior citizens, are having oral cancer and gum problems, and need to use dentures," he said.

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