Five million Ghanaian children are to receive oral hygiene education by the year 2020 from the largest producer and retailers of consumer goods, Unilever Ghana.
Unilever Ghana Limited revealed this at a ceremony to mark the 2015 World Oral Health Day (WOHD) in Accra on Friday.
The 2015 World Oral Health Day (WOHD) which was on the theme: ‘Smile for life’ was celebrated with the pupils from Christ the King International School and the Flagstaff House Basic School.
The pupils were taken through basic oral hygiene practices and also benefited from free dental screening.
At a press briefing in Accra to mark the day, the Brand Development Director for Unilever Ghana Limited, Clarence Nartey said available statistics indicate that in Ghana, close to 25% of people aged between 6 to 19 years are affected by tooth decay and other oral hygiene problems.
The aim therefore, is to enlist school children as ambassadors and agents of change by turning them into “little dentists.”
The ‘little dentists’ he said, is the newest twist his outfit has added to its ‘Brush Day & Night’ school programme which has been running for some years now in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ghana Dental Association (GDA).
The ‘little dentists’ is to “drive this oral hygiene agenda…that Unilever is conscious in promoting,” said Mr. Nartey.
He explained saying, “we are trying to enlist the kids as ambassadors. It’s not just about mummy and daddy telling the kids. We are now putting a twist to it and saying, having educated the kids, having exposed them to the benefit of oral hygiene, having our big older dentists to teach them, they in turn become little dentists and go home to influence and inspire their parents and guardians to embed this habit.”
According to him, his outfit was able to reach over one million school children nationwide and he expressed the hope that between now and the end of the year, more children will be reached as they go back into the various regions to promote good oral hygiene.
“The goal is to educate five million children by 2020 through the programme to instill among Ghanaian children, good brushing habits so they can avoid major oral problems and lead healthier and more fulfilled life through adulthood,” he added.
Mr. Nartey pointed out that for a business to survive, “it can only thrive when there are healthy consumers or healthy populace so we are putting forward our product [Pepsodent] as the key force for good in addressing this social issue.”
On his part, the president of the Ghana Dental Association, Dr. Gilbert Ankrah appealed to the media to help the association change the perception of Ghanaians that dental care is only for the rich.
He recalled that the association once wanted to partner with a television station to raise awareness and educate citizens on the importance of oral health but their progress was impeded because of the huge amount of money the station was demanding.
“The media which is referred to as the fourth realm of the state can do us a great favour if we all work as a team,” he remarked.
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonlin.com/Ghana