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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 8-14

Dental Education With the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ghanaian Dental Students’ Experience

University of Ghana Dental School, Accra, Ghana

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sandra Ama Hewlett
University of Ghana Dental School, Accra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jwas.jwas_48_21

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Introduction: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Ghanaian tertiary institutions were closed down and resorted to online teaching. This posed a challenge for dental education due to requirements of clinical tutoring and patient handling. This study explored the experiences of dental students with the change in teaching methods during the pandemic with the aim of assessing their effectiveness and explore measures for their improvement. Materials and Methods: This was an online survey involving undergraduate dental students in the two dental schools in Ghana. An e-questionnaire was sent out to all the students, exploring their knowledge of and response to the pandemic and assessing the impact of measures implemented during the pandemic to assist them complete their education. Results: Two hundred out of 412 students participated in the study giving a response rate of 48.5%; however, completed responses were available for 195 students, 123 (63.1%) from the University of Ghana Dental School and 72 (36.9%) from the Kwame Nkrumah University School of Medicine and Dentistry. There were 106 (54.4%) females;108 participants (54.4%) were pre-clinical students. One hundred and sixty-four (84%) respondents believed dental professionals had a higher risk of contagion because of proximity to patients during treatment and 115(59.0%) reported being fearful of performing clinical procedures. The students demonstrated adequate knowledge of the disease and a positive attitude towards the required changes instituted because of the pandemic. They however, highlighted technical obstacles and distraction as some of their challenges. The quality of internet was acceptable, but the volume of data was inadequate to meet their needs. Also, though both Universities had their own recommended learning management systems, Zoom was the preferred online learning platform. Conclusions: Generally, the students demonstrated a positive attitude towards the required changes. A blended educational approach may continue to be ideal for dental education as we adapt to this pandemic. Innovative ways may need to be sought to improve the online experience and the University approved online learning management systems enhanced to make them more user friendly.

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