School Dental Service in Sri Lanka: Geo-spatial analysis of access to oral health care

Nirosha Ranasinghe, Estie Kruger, Marc Tennant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The School Dental Service contributes to the reduction of social inequalities in oral health among school children. Aim: To investigate the distribution of School Dental Clinics staffed by School Dental Therapists in Sri Lanka in relation to the distribution of the child population and socioeconomic status. Design: School Dental Clinics were mapped using geographic information system (GIS) software and overlayed with population data of 3-13-year-old children (including poverty status). Results: Overall, there was an uneven geographic distribution of the total 422 School Dental Clinics. Sri Lankan children have restricted access to school dental care in a few poverty stricken districts in the Northern, Eastern, North Central, and Uva provinces. When the geographic distribution of children by poverty status was analysed, it was found that in Sri Lanka, only 53% of the most socially disadvantaged children lived within 5 km from a School Dental Clinic, compared to 75% of the least disadvantaged. Conclusion: A coordinated national School Dental Service strategy is needed in response to identified areas of poor or inadequate accessibility to dental services for large parts of the child population, especially those from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-496
JournalInternational Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


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