FROM: THE DESK OF THE REGISTRAR
The President of the Republic has declared a National state of Disaster and lockdown effective from midnight on Thursday, the 26th of March 2020. The President explicitly mentioned the categories that will be exempted from lockdown on page 3 of his speech (see highlighted in red - attached copy). Health workers will be exempted from lockdown.
My office has since been inundated with calls and queries from the profession regarding the lockdown and as it applies to the dental technology profession and more specifically to dental laboratories. Some of the questions received are shared below:
1. Is dentistry an essential service?
one of the subcategories of the health sector. Dental technology by implication
is then included under the broader health category. Although this profession
mostly provides a service as a secondary provider, it nevertheless provides a crucial
service to the public via the dentist.
2. Will oral health professionals be included in the list of essential personnel as mentioned by President in his speech on page 3?
At this point this has not categorically been stated. Those who are advising the President will hopefully consider all their options in drafting such a list. My opinion based on information available and applying my understanding of the role of the dental technology profession is stated under 1 above. As soon as greater clarity is provided the latter will be communicated to all professionals. However, members of the public are permitted to go to health centres, clinics, hospitals and practices to receive treatment. By implication, therefore, if a dentist continues to treat patients and this requires an oral appliance, then the dental laboratory should continue to supply those appliances (be they removable or be fixed),
My advice is that all dental technology professionals and dental laboratory owners should familiarise themselves with what the President will be issuing from time to time.
Knowledge about the virus and the State of Disaster is continuing to unfold. For updates and the latest information, refer to the following resources:
I. National Department of Health: www.health.gov.za
II. National Institute for Communicable Diseases: www.nicd.ac.za
III. National Institute of Occupational Health: www.nioh.ac.za
IV. National Health Laboratory Services: www.nhls.ac.za
V. World Health Organisation: www.who.int
VI. Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 02 99 99
In conclusion, please note that my office and staff of the SADTC will attend to all queries via the following email address during the lockdown period: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish to thank all those members who contacted my office and for the concerns raised.
Once the list of essential services is available you will receive further guidance and assistance.
Please safeguard yourself and all your employees against infection and cross infection by observing fundamental hygiene and the guidelines published by the WHO. See each and every case coming into your dental laboratory as a potential source of infection which could potentially infect you and/or is sent out of your dental laboratory and infect somebody who may have a compromised immune system.