The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday urged local government units (LGUs) to ensure that dentists in their areas wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when attending to their patients.
The DILG also told LGUs to see to it that their clinics are compliant with the health and safety protocols of the Department of Health (DoH) to avert the possible exposure of both parties to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).
“The nature of dental operation requires close proximity of a dentist and a patient. Kaya lalong dapat magsuot ng PPE ang mga dentist para sa kanilang kaligtasan at ng kanilang mga pasyente (That is why the dentist should wear a PPE to ensure their safety and that of their patients),” DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said.
Año said that “the dynamics of the dental treatments and services and the inevitability of close exposure to human orifices, namely the nose and the mouth, expose dentists to high risk of infection.’’
In an advisory, Año said the governors and mayors must require the oral health professionals in their jurisdictions to comply with the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) Interim Guidelines on Infection Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic “which guides dentists in their operations in the ‘new normal’.’’
“Amid our country’s efforts against the spread of COVID-19, we cannot ignore other serious concerns that need to be addressed, including dental health. The DILG recognizes that oral health is just as important and is part of overall health,” he added.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya explained that the PDA guidelines provide the precautionary steps that dental clinics should take.
These include patient screening, preparation of dental facility teams, and standard layers of defense against COVID-19 like “waste management of hazardous wastes.’’
“As the economy and establishments open up, the DILG counts on the LGUs to properly regulate the dental health sector in their localities in line with their duty to promote health and safety. Mahalaga ang oral health sa kabuoang kalusugan ng mamamayan (Oral health is important in one’s overall wellness),” said Malaya.