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Empowering Mothers to Provide Oral Health

Empowering Mothers to Provide Oral Health

Date Posted: 16/04/2016
Today Volunteer West Africa launched an Oral Health Education Project to enhance oral heath among children in our local communities, through the empowerment of mothers to educate and guide their little-ones to better clean their teeth and gums. 
Today Volunteer West Africa launched an Oral Health Education Project to enhance oral heath among children in our local communities, through the empowerment of mothers to educate and guide their little-ones to better clean their teeth and gums. 

Oral health among local children is one of the major health issues we regularly identify. Poverty in local communities prevents families from having the spare income to purchase tooth paste and or toothbrushes. The parents, having not been exposed to the use of oral health accessories and practices as they grew up, then lack the knowledge and information about good oral hygiene to pass on to their children.

As part of this project, VWA organised a trial oral health education workshop to educate mothers and to build their confidence to effectively clean their teeth. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Community Health Nurses at the Oshiyie CHIPs compound of our partner the Ghana Health Service. 

Brooke French, American Pediatric Nurse and VWA volunteer Healthcare Development Officer facilitated the education activities. Among the topics covered was the importance of the teeth and why it is so important to take care of them (especially when funds for dentistry work is very limited!).

On 5th April, Volunteer West Africa presented the first trial workshop in the nearby village of Oshiyie in conjunction with a child welfare clinic held at the local CHIPs Clinic. The team designed the programme for mothers in which we distributed free adult toothbrushes and toothpaste to all who attended. We discussed the importance of healthy teeth and good oral health in terms of overall health; We discussed maintenance of good oral health with avoidance of tobacco and limiting alcohol, limiting sugar filled foods in diet and the importance of breastfeeding for children to have strong teeth; We discussed how to brush and floss teeth; We had volunteers brush and floss their teeth as a demonstration; We discussed good oral health maintenance for children and how and when they should brush their teeth; We discussed alternatives ways to clean your teeth if you don't have a toothbrush such as chewing sponges, chewed twigs, and rinsing mouth with safe water; And we discussed when to see a dentist if possible.
  
In total the team distributed approximately 50 tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes. The people who attended the first workshop are now planning the follow-up workshop for children, in which we will distribute children's toothbrushes and toothpaste for all who attend. 

The attendees in Oshiyie now look forward to shiny white teeth and fewer problems associated with poor oral hygiene in future. VWA will now plan a further series of workshops, following the success of this first trial event, in a range of other communities. 

Thanks to all those who made this programme possible. If you would like to donate to support this program or other VWA programs, please email:

info@volunteerwestafrica.org

Author: Volunteer West Africa

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