Minister of Health, Donville Inniss,(centre) is shown some orthodontics from a representative of a dental facility. Looking on is President of the Commonwealth Dental Association, Dr. Hilary Cooray (left) and??Chairman of the Caribbean Dental Program, Dr.Victor Eastmond.?? (A. Miller/BGIS)

The issue of Barbadian trained dentists and their registration will be examined and brought to an end without much delay.

This was made clear by Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the four-day Caribbean Dental Programme’s Conference at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa.

It is being held in association with the Commonwealth Dental Association and has as its theme: Education, Abuse, Neglect and The Oral Care Practitioner.

Speaking in relation to the issue of dental schools in the region and processes of registration, Mr. Inniss stated that one of the challenges faced was that Barbadian doctors who graduated from the University of The West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad could not, at present, be registered to practice in Barbados.

"For us as a nation, the Government of Barbados is expending approximately $150,000 per student to pursue studies in dentistry at UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad, a facility financed in part, by the people of Barbados upon completion of this course of study, the majority of these students remain in Trinidad practising as dentists because they either did not sit or pass a registration examination as administered by the Dental Council of Barbados," the Minister disclosed.

He said that one option available to government was to amend the existing legislation to allow such graduates to practice in their field in Barbados. However, he explained that they would have to present a certificate of good standing from the appropriate body in Trinidad, or they would have to register if they wanted to practice dentistry in Barbados.

The Health Minister added that the exam would be designed by the Barbados Dental Council, in collaboration with the UWI, St. Augustine and other external bodies. He also said that the exam would be taken in Trinidad as a means of convenience.

Stressing that the Ministry of Health would not allow a situation to arise where the dental profession was compromised, Mr. Inniss further disclosed that for those persons currently enrolled in the dental programme, an exam would have to be taken and passed during the final year at the UWI. He pointed out that this would be a prerequisite for registration in Barbados.

"We expect that implementation of [these] decisions must take place within the upcoming year. We cannot and we must not loiter on this burning issue any longer," he stressed.??

The Health Minister shared the view that as a region, much more needed to be done to give oral care the higher level of support and recognition it deserved and announced that efforts would be made to establish a department of dental services headed by a Director of Dental Services.


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