Picture Caption: Nigeria delegation during one of the INC meetings on Minamata Convention.
A major milestone towards the phase out of use of dental amalgam in Nigeria was achieved a fortnight ago as the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), the professional body representing the interests of all Nigerian Dentists, endorsed 31st January 2022 and 31st December, 2024 for phasing out of amalgam use among vulnerable population-children and pregnant women, and adults respectively.
The NDA, in a communique issued at the end of her 53rd Biennial General Meeting/Scientific conference held virtually from the Lagos Airport hotel, from 20th -21st November, 2020 with the theme ‘Patient-centred Dental Care: Preparedness for infection prevention and control; Ethical and Medicolegal concerns’, resolved that “31st January, 2022 and 31st December, 2024 were adopted for phasing out of Amalgam target dates among vulnerable population (Children and pregnant women) and adults respectively. NDA affiliates should participate more in decision making going forward”.
To demonstrate her commitment to the decision, the NDA has also written a letter to the Minister of Environment, to convey the position of the association on the phase out of amalgam use in Nigeria.
The letter, dated 4th December 2020 and signed by the NDA President, Dr. Obagbemiro Kolawole and General Secretary, Dr. Adeyemi Tope addressed to the Minister read in part: “Greetings from the National Executive Council and members of the Nigerian Dental Association, a professional body representing the interests of all Nigerian Dentists and dedicated to the advancement of the dental profession in Nigeria.
“Following extensive discussions at the 53rd Biennial General Meeting/ Scientific conference of our Association held from 20th to 21st of November, 2020, NDA adopted 31st January, 2022 for phase out of dental Amalgam among the vulnerable population (children, pregnant and breastfeeding women) and 31st December, 2024 for total phase out of Dental Amalgam use from dental practice in Nigeria among all categories of dental patients.”
Campaigners under the aegis of World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry (WAMFD) Nigeria chapter with the support of its international body, had in 2014 kicked off the campaign towards the phase down and eventual phase out of use of dental amalgam in line with the global decision to eliminate mercury in all its form from the environment.
Announcing the resolution of the NDA at the weekend, National Coordinator of WAMFD-Nigeria, Dr. Leslie Adogame, said “it is with great excitement we (Nigerian team) announce the breakthrough so far coming out from our consistent resolve to make Nigeria mercury-free since 2014. I am happy to inform you that NDA at its 53rd AGM approved and adopted our earlier agreement- though with some little adjustment.”
Elated Adogame said the endorsement for amalgam phase out by 2024 for Nigeria populations is a win-win for all Nigerians. He went further, “It is a win-win for all Nigerians, for dentists as well as for populations (children, pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and adults) seeking dental care, because amalgam use is history since 2017. Even the dental practitioners are more at risk of mercury amalgam contamination.”
President, WAMFD, Charlie Brown, salutes the NDA for seizing control of the destiny of the nation by moving to phase out amalgam use in 2024, starting with children and pregnant women in 2022.
He went further, “Nigeria takes the role of world leader for toxic-free dentistry. The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry salutes the Nigerian Dental Association for seizing control of the destiny of the nation by moving to phase out amalgam use in 2024, starting with children and pregnant women in 2022. It will reap big rewards for the health and the environment of your great nation.” Charlie Brown, president, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry.”
Similarly, in recognition of their efforts towards mercury free practice in Nigeria, the WAFMD during the NDA AGM presented certificates of Mercury-Free Dentistry practice to 25 dental clinics under NDA in Nigeria.
The dental clinics include Regal Dental clinic; Dr. Hassan Hospital; Hopegate Dental clinic; Ideal Dental clinic; Faces & Braces; Divine Dental home; Kelina Hospital; Britesmile Dental clinic; Choice Dental clinic; SS Dental clinic; Kots Dental clinic and Solace Dental clinic.
Others are: Beaconhill; Smile 360; Peve Dental clinic; Day Dental Specialists; Aquagem; Richmond; Odontoville; SKKY Dentals clinic; Nene Dental clinic; Hygie Dental clinic; Andechristie; Schubb Dental clinic and Havillah Dental clinic.
Dr. Adogame, who presented the certificates on behalf of the Alliance said the clinics are now recognised for mercury free practice in Nigeria.