Dentistry Lecturers Present at International Conference in Cape Town
Two academics from the Discipline of Dentistry, both of whom are PhD candidates, presented their research findings at the 92nd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association of Dental Research (IADR) International Conference which was held recently in Cape Town.
Mrs Rajeshree Moodley presented a poster that disseminated her findings on the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) amongst dentists in KwaZulu-Natal whilst Mr Tufayl Muslim presented a paper titled: “Comparative Analysis of Oral Health Workforce Forecasting Using Systems Dynamics”.
Moodley said: ‘MSDs are health problems of the locomotor apparatus that include muscles, tendons, the skeleton, cartilage, ligaments and nerves. ‘They can either be minor disorders or irreversible disabling injuries and are often caused or exacerbated by work.’
There were two types of MSD injuries: one being acute and painful and the other chronic and lingering. Moodley added that information regarding the prevalence of MSD among South African dentists was scarce. Her study aimed to determine MSD prevalence in KwaZulu-Natal dentists and to identify risk factors associated with it.
In Moodley’s study population of 109 local dentists, 99.1 percent reported pain in one or more locations (either/or in the hands, neck, lower back and shoulder). Just under a quarter reported symptoms of the hand and nearly three quarters rotated their necks during clinical work, with a third tilting a shoulder towards their dominant hand. A strong association was found between the number of years in practice and pain in the neck during clinical work.
The study concluded that the prevalence of MSD in the present South African sample was significantly high when compared to studies from other countries. ‘Self-recognition plays an important role in the prevention of occupational injuries among dentists,’ said Moodley. ‘There is a need to include ergonomic work practice during dental training to create awareness of prevalence of MSDs and promote wellbeing.’
Mr Tufayl Muslim’s study sought to demonstrate the application of Systems Dynamic (SD) modelling as a forecasting tool in cross-national oral healthcare worker (OHCW) forecasting. Workforce forecasting provides organisations with a plan to address their strategic human capital requirements. Muslim recognised human resources for health workforce forecasting as a highly complex logistical task because accurate forecasts that reflect policy reforms are expensive to produce, and the variables that affect policy development, implementation, and reform need to be considered in this forecasting.
In his study, a SD modelling tool (Vensim® PLE Version 6.2) was used to conduct retrospective (2001-2011) and prospective (2011-2021) cross-national comparative analysis of OHCW forecasting between a developed country (Australia) and a developing country (South Africa).
Simulation run results, constructed using the SD model, revealed gaps in the accuracy of OHCW planning when compared with actual workforce numbers. In 2011 Australia had a 21.7% oversupply of dentists whilst South Africa had a 17.4% undersupply.
The study concluded that using SD modelling could improve the accuracy of forecasts. ‘SD modelling has been shown to be a useful forecasting tool that could lead to providing optimal oral healthcare service delivery in developed and developing countries,’ said Muslim.