Awareness and perception of oral health services among Chifubu secondary school students in Ndola, Zambia
Aim: To determine awareness and perception of oral health services and their influence on the utilization of oral health services.
Subjects and Methods: A total of 353 simple randomly selected pupils aged 11-20 years at Chifubu secondary school in Ndola participated in the study. Data was collected using structured close ended self administered questionnaire which inquired on socio-demographics, awareness and perception of oral health services. Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS version 16.0. The chi square test was used to test for associations where significance was assumed when p≤0.05.
Results: Majority of respondents were aged 16 to 20 years (52.4%), 52.7% boys, and 51.8% were in grade 10 - 12. Most participants reported to have received some oral health information (81.6%) mainly from teachers but 86.7% were not aware of specific oral health procedures. The overall perception on oral health among those who agree was 58.6%, while 47% disagree on the overall perception on the utilization of dental services. The main reason for utilizing the service was pain and bleeding. The main reasons for not seeking care were that they never thought it was important (31.2%), distance (17.3%) and cost (15%). The utilization of services was associated with age p= 0.029. Overall awareness was associated with age p= 0.046 and grade p= 0.007. Students with a positive utilization on oral health tended to be younger (p<0.001) and in lower grades (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The majority of respondents were not aware of the dental services. Therefore, awareness campaigns are required on available oral health services. Perception of oral health was not statistically different by age, sex and grade. Most respondents had never utilized oral health services.
Keywords: Awareness, Perception, Oral health services, students, Ndola, Zambia