LAS Piñas Rep. Camille Villar wants every rural health unit (RHU) in the country to have their respective dental units to encourage the public to take of their dental health and bolster the Department of Health’s (DOH) oral health program.
“This proposed legislation is being pushed to strengthen the national oral health program and protect Filipinos from declining oral health, which has been exacerbated by the (COVID-19) pandemic that limited the movements of people and immobilized seeking of immediate oral health attention,” Villar said in filing House Bill No. 9343.
She cited data from the DOH showing that adults and children have been suffering from various dental health problems, with tooth decay and gum diseases affecting most Filipinos for decades already.
She likewise noted that oral health disease has been tagged as a “silent epidemic” following initial results of the 2018 National Survey on Oral Health showing that 72 percent of Filipinos have dental carries while 43 percent have gum diseases, making tooth decay and gum diseases the two most common oral health diseases in the country.
The survey also showed that eight out of 10 children suffer from childhood carries or decaying baby teeth, which if not treated early and properly, will make children suffer in the future since they will be more susceptible to much serious periodontal diseases.
“Dental health problems also affect the quality of lives of Filipinos due to the excruciating pain and discomfort associated with dental diseases, and often lead to skipping school or calling in sick to work,” Villar said.
HB 9343 mandates the establishment of a dental unit in each of the 2,597 RHUs or urban health centers across the country as part of the government’s Primary Health Care Approach. The dental units shall be under the supervision of the DOH.
Each unit shall be composed of a public health dentist and a barangay health worker who will serve as a dental aide.
Funding for the creation of the dental units shall be initially funded by the health department. Subsequent funding shall be included in the yearly General Appropriations Act.
“Magtulungan po tayong panatilihin ang kalusugan ng bawat isa, lalo na ang mga kabataan. Kasama rito ang kalusugan ng ating mga ngipin. Lack of care for our oral health can negatively impact on our self-image and self-esteem,” Villar said.