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Gov’t ‘can’t drop’ dental prakas

Dentists perform check-ups on students’ teeth at Sonthormok High School in 2014 in Phnom Penh.
Dentists perform check-ups on students’ teeth at Sonthormok High School in 2014 in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Gov’t ‘can’t drop’ dental prakas

Ministry of Health officials on Saturday said they can’t terminate a controversial prakas allowing dental nurses to open their own clinics, and can only modify it – a response that disappointed leaders of dental or-ganisations who on Friday urged Health Minister Mam Bunheang to drop the directive.

Bunheang called a meeting on Saturday after the delivery of the letter, which was supported by several dental groups and requested that the ministry “terminate” the prakas for several reasons, including that dental nurses are not qualified to run their own clinics and that they would pose a risk to the public.

“We are not happy with the . . . answer that the ministry gave us. We still want it eliminated,” said Cheang Pengleang, a sixth-year dentistry student at the International University and president of the Cambodian Dental Students’ Association.

Several health officials couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday, but those in Saturday’s meeting said they were told that under the Cambodian law regarding medical staff, medical personnel have the “ability” or “right” to start their own clinic.

But according to the Law on Management of Private Medical, Paramedical and Medical Aide Practice, “only a dental doctor, dentist or a physician of oral specialty” can open a “private dental or oral consultation and treatment office”.

It was unclear what law the ministry was citing during the meeting.

Dr Solita Yam, president of the Cambodian Dental Association, on Friday said experts didn’t “accept” the prakas.

“The training [dental nurses] receive is not enough for them to open a private clinic,” she said.

Additional reporting by Kong Meta

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