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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Minamata Convention: Zambia set to phase out use of dental amalgam

Following the halting of the use of dental amalgam for over two decades, Zambia is now set to transition to completely phasing out the product in the country.

Dental amalgam
President, World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry, Charlie Brown, in the company of officials and NGO leaders at a forum

Mr Michael Musenga, Executive Director, Children’s Environmental Health Foundation, who made disclosure in a correspondence to EnviroNews on Sunday, May 21, 2023, expressed his appreciation to Dr Christopher Kapeshi, National Oral Health Coordinator for Zambia in ensuring that dental amalgam is phased out in the country.

According to him, Dr Kapeshi, as President of Zambia Dental Association (ZDA), spear headed the process of eliminating dental amalgam in both government and private health facilities and that led to the Ministry of Health to stop the use of dental amalgam in all government hospitals in 10 Provinces of Zambia.

Musenga stated that this also made government to change the syllabus in Dental Training Schools and Levy Mwanawasa Medical School of Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka.

His words: “The dental amalgam is no longer in use in Zambia for 22 years now. Because of these gallant doctors who have worked tirelessly, we are now going into the transition to completely phase out dental amalgam in Zambia and make a big history to forget about amalgam in Zambia.

“On behalf of the Children’s Environmental Health Foundation, I thank the Zambia Dental Association (ZDA) for this work. I greatly thank the government through Honourable Collins Nzovu MP and Permanent Secretary, Dr. Douty Chibamba, including the staff of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment for this support. The members of staff of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment were extremely helpful in arranging our SADC and EAC workshop in Lusaka that sent good memories to SADC and EAC NGO leaders in Africa, that attended the workshop.

“We are happy with the government because the Minister has confirmed that his Ministry, which has a responsibility of managing the environment, will collaborate with the line ministries such as Health to eradicate the usage of harmful substances that can affect human health and the environment.

“And therefore, the government will now put up the legislation to prohibit the importation and use of amalgam in Zambia. Children’s Environmental Health Foundation will now conduct an awareness raising campaign to communities and boarder areas as well as schools. We will visit the border areas and airports through the Customs offices and see if we can come across entry of amalgam into Zambia.

“We would like to thank Mrs Cathel Mabuti from Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital, who has been very instrumental in organising the Ministerial official opening of the SADC EAC workshop in Lusaka. Cathel worked so well with the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment staff Norah Miyoba the Secretary to the Minister and Masuzio Chakwe the head of the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment Communications Unit.”

Musenga pointed out that, for Africa to make dental amalgam history, “we need support from all our governments in Africa. For Zambia, we do not expect any person to use dental amalgam”.

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