THE Council of Ministers has approved a sub-decree intended to encourage dentists to undergo professional training, though it does not call for any penalties to be levied against dentists who refuse to do so.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he believed the sub-decree, passed Friday, would "make the people have more confidence in our dentists".
Hem Chhin, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Health, said Sunday that there were 372 trained dentists in the Kingdom, but that only 200 or so were practising. As a result, the vast majority of the Kingdom's 1,124 dental clinics are staffed by dentists who have not received formal training, he said.
He said the ministry had decided not to push for penalties for untrained dentists because such a move might prevent people living in remote rural areas from receiving any dental treatment at all.
Kek Galabru, president of the rights group Licadho, said she believed the sub-decree should be coupled with a means of enforcement, ideally penalties.
"We need all the nurses and doctors and dentists to follow their professional roles," she said.