Mongolia - Mission Report 1999 with recommendations to improve oral health

Misson Report on Oral Health in the Mongolia
5 - 24 September 1999
by Dr William Murray Thomson


Objectives of mission:
In collaboration with national counterparts in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare:

  • to provide technical support to a meeting for dentists and teachers to develop the oral health care programme in schools;
  • to give a lecture on preventive oral health care in the meeting and advise the Government on the development of the preventive oral health programme; and
  • to review and revise a draft document on Mongolian governmental policy, strategies and actions on oral health for approval of the Government.

Summary of activities, findings, conclusions and recommendations:
Much of the time in Ulaanbataar was spent in fact-finding, in visiting officials and various dental clinics. The most important part of the visit was a successful three-day workshop for dentists which had three main aims:

  • to increase their awareness of preventive dentistry and the dental public health approach;
  • to increase their awareness of the National Oral Health Programme and seek their feedback on its implementation plan (in order to encourage a sense of "ownership" of the Plan among practitioners and teachers); and
  • to introduce them to the principles of evaluation in dental health care, as a first step in developing a professional culture of self-review in Mongolian dentistry.

There is an urgent need for unified dental leadership, so that the country's Oral Health Plan can be taken forward to improve the oral health of the Mongolian population. This cannot be achieved without adequate support from a dedicated dental public health unit. Current preventive dentistry practices need to be re-examined. They appear to be neither effective, efficient nor sensibly allocated. A reappraisal of current initiatives is urgently needed.

Recommendations include:

  • The organisation of dental services should be revised to ensure that there is a single individual who is accountable for progress with the National Oral Health Programme.
  • A dental public health unit should be established to support that individual and collect and monitor essential dental information.
  • An adequate, low-cost oral health surveillance system should be established and supported.
  • Support should be sought for an external consultant to assist with
    • achieving and maintaining satisfactory forward momentum with the National Oral Health Programme, and
    • the establishment and development of the dental public health unit.
  • The dental clinical component of the health-promoting schools should be withdrawn and replaced with more systematic, intensive oral health education efforts, which should be systematically evaluated.
  • Methods of increasing the supply and regular use of fluoride toothpaste should be investigated, and the addition of fluoride to salt explored.
    The implementation plan for the National Oral Health Policy should be adopted and executed.