Diagnostic Service Provision at the Nairobi University Oral Pathology Laboratory
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Qualitative information on oral diseases is essential for documentation of current disease patterns and for provision of evidence-based justifications in priority setting. These considerations are particularly important for a centre such as the University of Nairobi Oral Pathology Laboratory, which provides services for patients from all the major referral hospitals in Kenya. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine prevalences and demographic characteristics of the oral diseases diagnosed in the Nairobi University Oral Pathology Laboratory during the period of January 2000 to December 2004. METHODS: The study was a descriptive retrospective study based on archival histology reports, which were examined to extract information on individual patients' biodata and specific diagnoses. Referral sources and provincial breakdown were excluded from the study. The data collected was subjected to both discrete and categorical statistical analyses. RESULTS: A total of 1018 patients utilised the histopathology diagnostic services in this period. 491 (48.23%) were male and 527 (51.77%) were female (ratio 1:1.07). 621 (61.00%) patients were diagnosed with oral and maxillofacial tumours. 315 (50.72%) of these tumours were malignant, and 132 (21.25%) were of odontogenic origin. The highest incidences for malignancies (43.17%) were observed in the fourth to sixth decades of life. 116 patients presented with cysts, which were mainly (68.10%) of odontogenic origin. Reactive lesions, infections, salivary gland diseases and autoimmune conditions constituted 26.60% of the case load. CONCLUSIONS: The Nairobi University Oral Pathology Laboratory serves as a national diagnostic centre for oral diseases that require specialist attention. This may explain the predominance of maxillofacial tumours in the Laboratory case load. These data emphasize the need for development of effective and sustainable diagnostic strategies for management of oral diseases within the institution and in Kenya as a whole.