Ohpag

Oral Health Professionals Association of Ghana

Brief History

The practice of dentistry in Ghana in the 90s and the early part of 2005 was made up of only three category of professionals: the dentist (general practitioner or specialist), Dental Lab Assistants/Technicians and trained on the Job, Dental Assistants known and called by the Ghana Health Service as Dental Clinic Assistants.

In the year 2005, Rural Health Training School – Kintampo commenced the training of Community Oral Health Officers as middle cadres in the practice of dentistry in Ghana. These middle cadres could not completely fill the lacunae in the practice of dentistry in Ghana hence the commencement of the training of another cadre of Oral Health professionals in 2007, thus Registered Dental Surgery Assistants (now Dental Surgery Technicians) which was first advertised in 2007. The main objective of the training was to train a cadre of Dental professionals to take charge of the dental surgery and ensure effectiveness in the practice of dentistry.

However, this group including other middle cadres such as the Dental Laboratory Technician/technologist had no umbrella body to champion their course including but not limited to: favourable working condition, recognition in the field of dentistry, representation on committees of their respective regulatory bodies, recognition as unique profession in the practice of Oral Health as captured in ILO classification of health professionals, and adopted by WHO. This created an apathy, anxiety, and a feeling of inferiority complex among these Cadres of Oral Health Professionals in Ghana.

Mr. Douglas Avoka the then President of Oral Health Students Association of Ghana proposed a special home coming session for Middle level Oral Health Care Professionals so they could deliberate on matters affecting Oral Health and Oral Health Professionals in Ghana. On the 14th of March, 2015 the home coming session was organised and dubbed Oral Health Conference. The conference was chaired by Mr. Samuel Bimpong a Tutor at Kintampo College of Health. Other important dignitaries in attendance were; Dr. Constance Addo – Yobo (Chief Dental Officer then), Reverend Venerable Dr. Joe Eyison, and Dr. Dennis Dela Aprese. In the Conference, Participants discovered the need to come out with an umbrella association as a medium to address the Oral Health challenges in Ghana such as access to Oral Health services to people in deprived areas as well as represent the interest and aspirations of middle level Oral Health Professionals across the length and breadth of the country. This discovery led to a resolution signed by representatives of the cadres of Professionals present and the Chief Dental Officer at the time, Dr. Constance Addo-Yobo leading to the formation of the association.

The proposed name for the Association at the conference was Oral Health Practitioners Association of Ghana, upon further deliberation a new name emerged as Ghana Association of Paradental Practitioners (GAPP) and finally settled on Oral Health Professionals Association of Ghana (OHPAG) and Mr. Douglas Avoka was unanimously elected to lead the Association, though he initially declined to lead, but after several consultations he later accepted to lead the Association.

The association is duly registered and has since served as the official mouth piece of Oral Health Professionals in Ghana, commanding the largest number of membership in the Dental practice.

The Association has successfully undertaken Educational and scientific sessions since its formation to continue to enhance the professional competences of members. It joined and celebrated the world Oral Health Day for the first time in 2019, helping to reach out to over 2000 school pupils and offering residents of Apesika, in Kintampo South District of Bono East a rare opportunity to have free Dental Care.

Membership of the association includes but not limited to; Dental Therapists/hygeinist, Dental Laboratory Technologist, Community Oral Health Officers, Dental Laboratory Technicians, Dental Surgery Technicians, Dental Clinic Assistants, and Dental Radiographers .

ACHIEVEMENTS

  1. Successfully engaged major stakeholders in Health Sector to advance the course of members
  2. Facilitating organization of Continuous Professional Development for members
  3. Negotiating career development pathway for members
  4. Standardization of the nomenclature of some of the professions under the association
  5. Organization and massive celebration of World Oral Health Day in Collaboration with college of health and well – being at Apesika in Kintampo asouth and 8 schools in Kintampo
  6. Successful Organization of maiden National Conference with over 200 professionals in attendance.
  7. Facilitating and securing employment for members in Private and Public sector.
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