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Towards an oral healthcare framework and policy analysis for Swaziland

Mndzebele, Samuel (2010): Towards an oral healthcare framework and policy analysis for Swaziland.

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Background and Rationale: A synopsis by the researcher suggested that caries was becoming a public health problem among the youth, hence there was a need for deeper investigations which would lead to possible oral health interventions.

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to assess dental care practices and experiences among teenagers in the Northern region of Swaziland. Based on the outcomes and views from health professionals; develop a framework for oral healthcare delivery and policy analysis.

Design: The study engaged a randomized-survey design. The subjects filled a total of 562 questionnaires, of which 508 were selected for data-analysis. Their ages ranged between 12-20years.

Essential Results: Regression-analysis results indicated that, taking soft-drinks increased the odds of having caries by 3.33 times compared with sugar-free drinks. What was strange among this group was that knowing causes of caries doubled the odds (eB=1.918) compared to lack of knowledge. Living within 10kms radius from the dental-clinic significantly reduced the odds of being found with caries by a factor of 0.719 compared to living >10km away.

Conclusion: All the signs of the corresponding regression-coefficients seemed to be in the right direction except for “knowledge on how tooth-decay occurs” amongst this group. Based on these findings regarding caries experiences and practices amongst the youth, a framework for oral health care and policy analysis for Swaziland was developed.

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