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ORIGINAL RESEARCH Table of Contents   
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 622-626
Gaps in oral health-care service provision systems for children in Nigeria: A case study of a tertiary health institution


1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
2 Department of Preventive Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
3 Department of Child Dental Health, Faculty of Dentistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Olawunmi Adedoyin Fatusi
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijdr.IJDR_734_16

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Background: The study investigated the common dental conditions of children seen in a Nigerian tertiary hospital. The referral patterns were also determined to know how many of the patients had sought care at the lower levels of health before visiting a tertiary hospital. Methods: All the children aged 0–15 years seen at the Dental hospital, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, Nigeria over a 4-year period were included in the study. Information retrieved from their case notes including patterns of referral, presenting complaints, diagnosis, and treatment were extracted from the case records of the patients. Treatment plans for patients seen at this tertiary hospital were categorized into primary, secondary, and tertiary health-care services. Results: A total of 1,866 children sought treatment over a 4-year period at this tertiary hospital of which 1715 (91.9%) sought treatment without referral from lower levels of care. Only 102 (5.4%) children were referred from primary health care (PHC) centers. Six hundred and seventy-five (36.2%) children presented with pain while 502 (26.9%) attended for a “check-up.” Furthermore, 779 (41.8%) children were diagnosed with periodontal disease (including gingivitis) and 539 (28.9%) with dental caries. Scaling and polishing with oral hygiene instruction was the most common treatment recommended. Only 5% of children seen at this tertiary health facility required specialized oral health-care services provided by tertiary health institutions. Conclusions: The range of oral health care needed and service provided by and for patients who visited this tertiary health-care institution can be effectively provided in a primary or secondary oral health-care delivery center. The poor integration of oral health care into PHC services in Osun State burdens the tertiary health-care institutions to provide nonspecialized oral health-care services.


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