Dr. Anshul Mishra “I think therefore I am”. I’m on my journey.
Dental Clinics have for long been labelled as a high-risk zone but do you know that by mandate almost every dental office uses the same amount and quality of personal protective equipment (PPE) as the screening team at the screening center. So why not allocate some federal funds and let the games begin?
The discussion regarding the availability of centers and identifying probable hotspots for COVID-19 Screening has been as old as the pandemic itself but Dental clinics that have an elaborate web of covering all residential vicinities have failed to make a mark in being identified as a hotspot. Given the fact that Dental Clinics are high-risk zones for COVID-19, why not secure and be sure that every patient undergoes a mandatory COVID-19 Screening as an addendum to existing rules and guidelines for Dental treatment?
Imagine this situation, You think you have a symptom and are reluctant to go to the major COVID-19 Screening centers due to the fear of bringing your worst nightmare to life and with the scanty and long waiting times for the home testing kit; you head straight to your Dental provider for an emergency COVID-19 Screening exam and put your fears to rest.
Now some of you might be thinking, umm.. what about trained personnel? Time and resources required for setting it up? Well, Dentists across the globe have been trained in subjects like Oral Pathology, Microbiology and these add up to the knowledge base required to do the testing. All that is required is at this point is a little training in test conduction and handling and shipping of samples that can be easily done by setting up virtual training with the local authorities.
So why this plan hasn’t been executed till now? That is a question worth pondering. Sadly, the bureaucracy has messed it up. With numerous agencies interfering on numerous levels, it is not a one-man’s show i.e. to put it simply, too many cooks spoil the broth. Every health regulating agency in every country wants to have their say on this and on top of that too many formalities have stalled what could have been a blessing in disguise in these hours of crisis. All hospitals are reeling under the weight of added pressure of testing in addition to the spike in COVID hospitalization rates further adding to the misery of infected and to the healthcare professionals.
In Ontario, multiple requests have been made to the provincial government in this regard, most notable being of Dr. George Christodoulou, who suggested CBC that with almost 5500 dentists and around 14000 Dental hygienists in the province, the Dental COVID-19 Screening centers could test 100,000 patients a day. That is indeed a staggering figure and with the advent of IgG/IgM Rapid Test kits, the COVID-19 Screening will be safe and as fast-tracked as possible.
As a healthcare professional and a foreign-trained Dentist, I believe it’s a high possibility that Dental clinics may be the new COVID-19 Screening centers in near future but that decision rests on the shoulders of effective bureaucracy which is highly crucial in such tumultuous times for public service and optimum delivery of healthcare services.
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© 2021 Dr ANSHUL MISHRA