MoH, PB join hands to produce dental hygienists and therapists

Azlan Othman

The Ministry of Health (MoH) and Politeknik Brunei (PB) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to produce qualified dental hygienists and therapists to meet the treatment needs and demands of the population. The signing took place at PB at Jalan Ong Sum Ping.

The collaboration is to train sufficient dental hygienists and therapists in the next decade to fill the manpower shortage gap in the Department of Dental Services and to provide training to ensure a continuous supply of dental care professionals working as part of the dental team managing the oral healthcare needs of the nation.

Permanent Secretary at the MoH and guest of honour Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman, as a member of the PB Board of Governors witnessed the signing.

Signing on behalf of Politeknik Brunei was its Director Denis Ho Mun Tai, while Acting Director of Dental Services at the MoH Dr Haji Mohin bin Haji Momin signed on behalf of the MoH.

Signing as witnesses were PB Assistant Director Alias bin Haji Abu Bakar and Specialist Prosthodontist at the Department of Dental Services Dr Maisalamah binti Haji Taha, as the Deputy Director of Dental Services. Department heads, school heads, and PB officers also attended.

The MoU aims to formally establish, promote and develop cooperation between the participants in the field of research, education and training programmes of mutual interest.

With this MoU, the MoH and PB will take steps to encourage and promote cooperation in the conduct of Level 5 Diploma in Health Science (Dental Hygiene and Therapy) programme; identifying opportunities for faculty and staff to participate in and/or pursue short term programmes of study/ training etc; clinical placement; joint conferences and academic programmes and cooperation in other areas.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health Haji Abdul Manap bin Othman in a group photo. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

In 2015, the three Level 4 Diploma programmes offered at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB IHS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) was transferred to PB.

The School of Health Sciences was established in 2015 and is offering diploma programmes in various health sciences disciplines in nursing, midwifery and paramedic. From July 2018, the diploma programmes offered were upgraded to Level 5 Diploma.

In July 2019, the School of Health Sciences introduced a new programme, Diploma in Health Sciences (Dental Hygiene and Therapy). This programme is implemented in partnership with the Department of Dental Services, MoH, and is only offered once every two years.

This programme is an upgrade to Level 5 Diploma (Higher National Diploma) compared to the previous Dental Hygiene and Therapy programme done in collaboration with King’s College London (Level 4 BDVTech National Diploma).

The school aims to provide students with the best opportunities and support to pursue studies in nursing, midwifery, paramedic and dental hygiene and therapy so as to develop, professionally competent health professionals, proficient in 21st Century skills, who are innovative, creative and socially responsible with a commitment to serve the community.

The school has played a leading role in the development of nursing, midwifery, paramedic and dental hygiene and therapy education and practice nationally. The four diploma programmes offered will provide entry to professional practice in general nursing, paramedic, midwifery and dental hygienist/therapist.

Each programme is of a three- year duration delivered over six academic semesters. These programmes are delivered at PAPRSB IHS, UBD. The Institute of Health Sciences consists of top class lecture facilities, a purpose-built simulation centre and clinical skills laboratory for skills practice, student anatomy resource room and computing resources.

The Dental Hygiene and Therapy programme is delivered at the Dental Training Unit, National Dental Centre, MoH.

The centre comprises a purposely built treatment clinic with 12 dental chairs arranged in cubicle style; two lecture rooms fully equipped with teaching equipment; an operative technique/clinical skills room equipped with 12 phantom head units, each compete with slow and high speed hand pieces and suction unit; library with reference materials and an x-ray room with an intra-oral and extra-oral x-ray machines installed.

The School of Health Sciences will continue to work closely with the professional bodies, government agencies and the community to develop the health practices, while recognising the contribution of the traditional values of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) in Brunei Darussalam.