Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cuba takes harsh look at dentistry woes

By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) - It may not be fun anywhere but visiting the dentist in Cuba is a still unhappier prospect marked by a lack of dentists, technicians, materials and even reclining chairs, an official newspaper reported on Sunday.

In Cuba's second internal criticism in as many weeks, a team of reporters from the Juventud Rebelde, or Rebel Youth, fanned out to 22 dental clinics in various provinces only to discover the problems were the norm, not exception in the free system of more than 1,000 facilities.

"The majority of the 22 clinics lacked adequate professional and technical personnel, more than half had passed through crisis due to a lack of water, dentist chairs, materials to fill cavities, significant delays for dentures," according to the article headlined "Dentistry Dilemma."

Other problems included services provided through underground clinics -- at a price -- and patients waiting for hours in offices with little air conditioning and few toilet facilities.

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