This release is also available in French, please click here.
OttawaCanadian Dental Association (CDA) president-elect, George Sweetnam, appeared before the House of Commons Finance Committee today to deliver two clear messages: serious improvements are needed in government sponsored programs if the goal of improving the oral health of First Nations people is to be met; and immediate action is required to stop the rapid escalation of professional tuition fees.
The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada pays for extended health services, including dentistry, for First Nations people through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program - but improvements in the oral health of this population are lagging behind expectations. Unfortunately, the resources of the program are too often wasted on bureaucratic red tape, that increases the administrative burden of dentists, while steering the focus away from the oral health needs of the people, said Dr. Sweetnam.
The government recognized the need to improve the quality of life of aboriginal peoples with its election platform. In spite of this, oral health indicators among First Nations people frequently mirror those of developing nations. Dentists have been working hard to underscore with Health Canada the need to streamline the program, so that more emphasis can be placed on prevention, and the provision of necessary care.
On another note, CDA, an active member of the National Professional Association Coalition on Tuition, is concerned that rapidly escalating tuition fees will result in a less diversified profession, since only affluent students will be in a position to attend dentistry and other professional programs. Those of us who are dentists today would like to see a future where students may choose to join our ranks based on their personal aptitude, ambition and inclination, not on t
Canadian Dental Association