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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 376-384

Behavioral preventative strategies undertaken by dental clinics in Fiji during COVID-19 pandemic

1 School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Fiji National University, Suva, Fiji
2 School of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Fiji National University, Suva, Fiji

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Masoud Mohammadnezhad
School of Public Health & Primary Care, Fiji National University, Suva
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_73_22

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Introduction: COVID-19 has created a significant impact on dentists and oral health professionals. This research aimed to explore the perspective of dental officers (DOs) and dental managers (DMs) on behavioral preventative strategies and recommendations for preventing the virus transmission in the dental clinics in Fiji. Materials and Methods: This qualitative study was conducted among DOs and DMs who worked in nine private dental clinics, eight government dental clinics, and one School of Dentistry and Oral Health clinic (SDOH), in the Central Division, Fiji between August 9 and September 12, 2021. The participants were selected using purposive sampling method using the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Self-developed semi-structured open-ended questionnaires were used for data collection through in-depth interviews via zoom. Manual thematic analysis of the data was conducted. Results: Thirty DOs and 17 DMs participated in this study. Seven themes emerged from data analysis: Risk perception-COVID-19 versus dentistry; Staff safety, satisfaction, and motivation; Breaking the chain of infection transmission; Adaptability, and acceptance; Shared responsibility; Roles and knowledge; and Importance of good planning. Majority of participants felt that dental professionals are at high risk, and hence, need to take extra precautionary measures. Participants also stated that more care should be provided to patients by accepting the situation and moving forward. Conclusion: This study highlighted the importance of dentists in preventing disease transmission in a dental setting. Continuation with the protocols and strategies gave the participants more sense of protection. The importance of good planning, accepting the situation, and moving forward was highlighted. Future research is recommended in other divisions and other health-care professionals can be included.

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