Reasons for attending dental-care services in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Benoît Varenne, Philippe Msellati, Célestin Zoungrana, Florence Fournet, & Gérard Salem
To determine why patients attend dental-care facilities in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and to improve understanding of the capacity of oral health-care services in urban west Africa.
We studied a randomly selected sample of patients attending 15 dental-care facilities in Ouagadougou over a 1-year period in 2004. Data were collected using a simple daily record form.
From a total of 44 975 patients, the final sample was established at 14 591 patients, of whom 55.4% were new patients and 44.6% were “booking patients”. Most patients seeking care (71.9%) were aged 15–44 years. Nongovernmental not-for-profit dental services were used by 41.5% of all patients, 36% attended private dental-care services, and 22.5% of patients visited public services. The most common complaint causing the patient to seek dental-care services was caries with pulpal involvement (52.4%), and 60% of all complaints were associated with pain. The patients’ dental-care requirements were found to differ significantly according to sex, health insurance coverage and occupation.
Urban district health authorities should ensure provision of primary health-care services, at the patients’ first point of contact, which are directed towards the relief of pain. In addition to the strengthening of outreach emergency care, health centres should also contribute to the implementation of community-based programmes for the prevention of oral disease and the promotion of oral health. Exchange of experiences from alternative oral health-care systems relevant to developing countries is urgently needed for tackling the growing burden of oral disease.