`Many unregistered dental clinics mushrooming up in State`

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IMPHAL, August 24: Many unregistered dental clinics are mushrooming up in the State which is indeed a matter of serious concern in a State where prevalence of Hep-C and B is very high.

This was echoed during a day-long workshop on `Prevention of viral Hepatitis B and C at Dental Health Care Settings`™ organised by Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) in partnership with Indian Dental Association, Manipur State Branch; Directorate of Health Services, Government of Manipur and MACS partner NGOs Forum at Hotel Yaiphaba on August 23.

Joint Director of Director of Health Services Dr Nandalal who was present at the inaugural function as one of the presidium members stated that the main purpose of the workshop is to prevent infection of viral hepatitis B and C at dental health settings in Manipur.

`Dentist and dental health care workers are at high risk of infection with hepatitis C virus during their occupational exposures. Similarly they can infect their patients by such agents if adequate control is not implemented. As such use of appropriate personal protective equipment, sterilisers and disinfection procedures is necessary to minimise spread of the disease`, he said.

Stating on the mode of transmission of the disease, Dr Nandalal informed that Hep-B and C is spread through direct blood contact, mother to child, organ transplantation, medical and dental procedures and people who inject drug (PWID).

He further informed that cleanliness of the clinic is most necessary which plays a crucial role in prevention of Hep-C and B.

During the open discussion session where issues of unregistered dental clinics mushrooming up in the state was brought up by the participants mostly dental doctors, the Joint Director informed that measures have been taken up in this regard by the government to close down unregistered clinics.

Registration has now become mandatory, he added.

Data are insufficient to estimate the transmission of Viral Hepatitis B and C at Dental Health Care Settings as no study has been officially conducted in the State. But according to the majority of studies conducted in some developing countries, it has been reported that the prevalence of HCV infection among dentists, surgeons, and hospital-based HCP is similar to that among the general population, approximately 1-2%, he explained.

A recent HCV serological survey conducted by CoNE in partnership with Directorate of Health Services across the nine districts covering 1011 populations found that 83% of PWID are infected with hepatitis `“ C. Regrettably, nearly 65% of people living with chronic hepatitis B and 75% of those with chronic hepatitis C are not aware of their infection. Despite its higher prevalence and transmissibility, viral hepatitis C, has received far less attention than HIV in the state, Dr Nandalal said.

Taking part in the workshop, elected president of Indian Dental Association, Manipur State Branch Dr RK Ratankumar said that this kind of workshop is very important and needs to be organized with larger participants considering the prevalence of viral Hepatitis in the state

Highlighting the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C in the State, State Epidemiologist, Government of Manipur Dr Shasee Mangang said that contribution of Dental Health Care providers in preventing the viral Hepatitis B and C in the State is vital.

The workshop ended with a recommendation to form a committee and develop a minimum protocol which is to be followed by dental clinics. The recommendation was derived through open discussion among the participants.

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