Health Recent visit of Dentists Without Borders to Nakamtenga

Living without dental problems in Africa often depends on two conditions: The effectiveness of the Coca-Cola distribution network (mostly it is amazingly good) and poor families' ability to increase their cash income. The more untouched by this "modern" influence, the less need to look after your teeth during childhood.

– Lack of knowledge and insufficient oral hygiene in a poor environment is a general problem. But it was very rewarding now to find that things are getting better, compared with our first visit, says Alexandra Rogushina, who is a board member of the Swedish organisation Dentists Without Borders.

Together with two colleagues, Alexandra has just returned after two weeks of working in Nakamtenga. Primarily with sensitizing and teaching children about dental care but also with setting up a temporary clinic taking care of some of their parents' more or less acute needs.

The days were filled with training and then monitoring children who intensively – and judging by the photos most happily – were brushing their teeth. The three Swedish dentists also performed removal of calculus (plaque) under the trees with patients stretched out on simple metal chairs.

– It seemed as if the younger the children,  the better was their dental state. Starting with the little ones, Nakamtenga is learning how to be careful and maintain good health.

Since the word about activities spread, the group also visited and informed in a state school nearby. Dental hygiene and awareness were obviously much less noticeable there, compared with the Yennenga school.

Alexandra tells us that her organization is planning to return next spring. They will follow up and encourage and further train. The main focus remains on the children but while on site, they also aim to help their parents with fillings and whatever assistance they may need.

The expertise that our partners contribute with, gives our local Change Makers the tools and knowledge they need for the next step of development. Collaboration is born to find good solutions, fulfill the needs and create best practice to achieve the UN Global Goals. In this case it is both a personal gain for every human being receiving help with their oral health, and a long term gain to create local know-how and skills!