The Japanese government has provided grant assistance worth more than 2.7 billion kip (US$320,997) to improve oral and dental health services in Vientiane and in Borikhamxay, Khammuan, and Savannakhet provinces.
The grant contract was signed yesterday by the Ambassador of Japan to Laos, Mr Takeshi Hikihara, and the President of the Organisation of International Support for Dental Education (OISDE), Prof. Takashi Miyata.
The signing was witnessed by the Deputy Minister of Health, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Muongpak, and representatives of line ministries and other key organisations.
Mr Hikihara said the project is building a foundation for oral health services and treatment that will lessen the severity and occurrence of tooth and gum disease in Laos.
One year’s funding for the three year project has been approved so far, according to the Japanese Embassy.
The project, which is called “Establishing an educational base in dental health promotion to build preventative systems”, aims to establish dental health services that will provide professional development training for nurses and other professionals working in the field.
In the longer term it is hoped the number of serious cases of infectious gum disease will be significantly reduced.
OISDE has approval to establish a base delivering integrated dental and oral health education in Vientiane.
This facility will educate nurses from across the country. It will also provide transport and conduct practical training seminars in Borikhamxay, Khammuan and Savannakhet provinces throughout the year.
It is hoped that the professional development component of the programme will be successful in improving the quality of the dental care provided in the targeted areas.
Laos is the only country in South East Asia that does not have an established training and education system for dental nurses. The lack of qualified nurses means that sometimes service standards are below par. OISDE is a Japanese non-profit organisation that has been delivering oral health service programmes in Laos since 2002.
It implemented a technical cooperation project on oral and dental health in Vientiane, Khammuan and Savannakhet provinces from 2012 to 2018.