Save Our Souls (SOS) Children Ghana, the local branch of an international organization that provides protection for vulnerable and destitute children, has embarked on an aggressive campaign to tackle poor oral health among school kids in deprived communities.
Speaking at a ceremony held at Asokore-Mampong to commemorate this year’s World Oral Health Day, Mr. Alexander Mar Kekula, the National Director, said the target age for the programme is three and 12 years.
The oral health programme is aimed to educate vulnerable children on good oral health practices to avoid dental cavities, and other dental diseases.
Mr. Kekula announced that already 16,374 children in 55 community schools in difficult-to-reach areas across the country had been covered, adding the projection was to reach out to additional 25,000 kids by the close of the year.
He said the activity is being spearheaded by trained facilitators who include teachers, community volunteers and nurses.
The oral health programme will include regular visits to the schools to educate the kids on why, when and how to brush one’s teeth using model teeth and brush for demonstration with the supply of free tooth brushes, tooth paste and brochures to the children for use at home.
Mr. Kekula said his organization has been working together with Wrigley-Sweden, a chewing gum manufacturing company and the Ghana Education Service (GES) and what they seek to achieve is to instill good dental practices, to reduce dental diseases.
“We all have an important role to play in effective prevention strategies, in particular by raising awareness of good oral hygiene and habits contributing to good oral health”, he said.
The Day is marked annually to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health.
According to SOS National Director, research shows that 60-90 per cent of children globally have dental cavities, and the problem is higher among the poor in deprived communities everywhere.
Dr Francis Adu-Ababio, Dean of Dental School, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), expressed worry over the inadequate number of dentists and their unfair distribution nationwide.
Out of the 280 registered dentists in Ghana, 75 percent is operating in Tema, Accra and Kumasi, with the Upper East and Upper West Regions, having two dentists each.
He welcomed the campaign as a step in the right direction, and pledged that the School would partner the Organization to bring good oral health to the people.