Kenya to roll out dental care program targeting school children

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Dental Care
Dental Care

Kenya Dental Association will partner with a leading manufacturer of chewing gum to roll out an oral health program targeting 10,000 school children in three counties, officials said on Friday.

Andrew Wetende, chairman of Kenya Dental Association, said the 130,000 U.S. dollar program will focus on screening and treatment of school children at risk of ailments that affect teeth, gum and mouth.

“In several regions, poor oral hygiene remains one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, with children who experience dental pain missing school and recording poor academic performance,” said Wetende.

“Simple and cost-effective preventive oral health strategies are crucial to avoid exorbitant cost of treatment,” he added.

Kenya is grappling with a high burden of dental ailments among children linked to poor oral hygiene, high intake of sugars and fluoride in water.

According to Kenya National Oral Health Survey of 2015, 43.6 percent of children aged five years and below had dental caries while each child had two decayed teeth on average that took a heavy toll on their physical and emotional well-being.

Wetende said that poverty, ignorance, insufficient number of trained personnel and dysfunctional health facilities were undermining the war against dental illnesses in Kenya.

“Due to the unequal distribution of oral health personnel and lack of appropriate and functional facilities within primary healthcare system across the country, many people have limited access to oral health care services,” said Wetende.

Kenya Dental Association and industry partners last year implemented the first phase of oral health program targeting 10,000 school children in Nairobi, Murang’a and Nakuru counties. Enditem

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