20,000 children set to benefit from free dental clinics

By Fred Odhiambo

In Summary

  • Research shows that close to 50% of five-year-old children in Kenya have experienced tooth decay
  • Through the campaign, the organizers aim to impart knowledge on oral health, improve oral hygiene practices and provide free dental screening and basic treatment to the children
  • The Wrigley Company Foundation has donated over Ksh13.7million towards this program
  • Procedures that maybe undertaken on site as part of this program include simple fillings, fluoride therapy, fissure sealants and extractions
  • Kenya experiences a high oral health disease burden as indicated in the Kenya National Oral Health Survey (KNOHS) 2015 results
  • Wrigley has been committed to improving oral health for more than twenty years

Over 20,000 lower primary school children from across the country are set to benefit from free dental clinics organized by the Kenya Dental Association (KDA) through the Oral Health Community Service Grant from the Wrigley Company Foundation.

The two-year oral health promotion campaign dubbed ‘Meno yetu, afya yetu’ targets school-going children aged between six and eight years from six counties namely: Nairobi, Nakuru, Meru, Murang’a, Machakos and Kajiado.

Through the campaign, the organizers aim to impart knowledge on oral health, improve oral hygiene practices and provide free dental screening and basic treatment to the children.

Research shows low levels of basic oral health education and practice, leading to a high disease burden. There is therefore a need to offer oral health education on oral health practices to school going children. The need is even greater for lower primary school children due to their inability to brush effectively and the opportunity to prevent the oral diseases from occurring,” said Dr. Andrew Wetende, Chairman KDA.

Also speaking at the launch event held in Nairobi County at Bidii Primary School, The Wrigley Company Corporate Affairs Director for Africa Ms. Wanja Mwangi said: “The Wrigley Company Foundation has donated over Ksh13.7million towards this program. It is our hope that the grant will go a long way in restoring the smiles of over 20,000 children and also create greater awareness among the general public on the importance of good oral health practices.”

On his behalf, Nairobi County Senator Hon. Johnson Sakaja and the chief guest at the event, lauded the organizers saying the initiative is welcome and was optimistic that it will make a positive contribution in the provision of basic oral treatment to the marginalized as well as in helping to address the country’s oral health burden.

Treatment procedures that maybe undertaken on site as part of this program include simple fillings, fluoride therapy, fissure sealants and extractions among others. However, children requiring complex treatment will be referred to the nearest public dental facility. Additionally, they will also educate them on effective brushing methods.

Kenya experiences a high oral health disease burden as indicated in the Kenya National Oral Health Survey (KNOHS) 2015 results. 43.6% of five-year-old children had experienced dental caries. These children had a decayed, missing and filled teeth index (dmft) of 1.87 meaning each child had an average of two decayed teeth. while 18.9% of children sampled reported missing school due to a tooth related problem. 27.8% avoided smiling because they were embarrassed by their teeth.

Wrigley has been committed to improving oral health for more than twenty years. The company partners with dental professionals, supports scientific research and collaborates with governments, organizations and corporate partners to make a difference to oral health worldwide.

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