Assessing the impact of government policy
A 2015 oral health survey carried out nationally every 10 years found that:
Since the 1990s, Sri Lanka has suffered from a chronic oversupply of qualified dentists. By 2010 there were more than 250 dental surgeons awaiting government employment – 1 quarter of the total number of dentistry graduates. Many either left to work overseas or establish private practices.
In 2019 Dr De Silva conducted a survey of 455 dentists who had graduated since the implementation of the original recommendations in 2011. The survey respondents reported that:
- 87 per cent were in government employment within 1 year of graduation – reduced from an average wait of over 3 years
- 96 per cent were happy or very happy that, unlike their predecessors, they started their clinical careers immediately, and stayed in Sri Lanka
- 91 per cent reported job satisfaction levels of at least 7, on a scale of 1 to 10
- 78 per cent had been posted to rural areas - an important finding given the low level of rural provision in the past
The journal article describing the model and its early impact won Professor Brailsford her third Goodeve Medal, awarded annually for the best paper published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society.