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Press statement on KAPD and PDAEA Workshops on 12th and 13th July 2017

We recently received this press update from Prof. Arthur Kemoli, the Chairman of the Paediatric Dentistry Association of East Africa, and Dr. Nicholas Gichu, Chairman of the Kenya Association of Paediatric Dentists.

It was all fun and full of professional interaction as the Community Oral Health Officers (COHOs) of Kenya and Paediatric dentists from Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia met at the same venue for a good course. Prof. Raman Bedi , Chairman of Global Child Dental Fund (GCDF) and a Professor of Paediatric Dentistry from Kings College London, presided over the opening of Two workshops held by Kenya Association of Paediatric Dentists (KAPD) and the Paediatric Dentistry Association of East Africa, (PDAEA). During the first Workshop hosted by KAPD for the training of 33 COHOS, the 12 members of PDAEA joined in to carry out a community oral health service at Joseph Kang’ethe Primary School, in Nairobi. The function took place on 12th July 2017, where about 100 children were examined and provided with oral health education and appropriate referrals for any emergency dental treatment. Clyde Munro Dental Group and Synova Capital LLP funded the dental care to the special need schools. 

Among the children attended to at this school were hearing impaired children from the surrounding community, including Kibera slum in Nairobi. The oral health workers who participated in this oral health community service, included dentists and paediatric dentists from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Community Oral Health Officers drawn from the Kenyan public and religious faith hospitals and clinics situated in all corners of Kenya. The communication challenges faced by the health workers looking after the oral health of special health care needs children like the deaf children, was evident at this function.  Thank you to the teachers of this school, who did a sterling job in guiding the deaf children through the exercise. The children did enjoy the free check-ups and oral health education that was provided, including brushing lessons. It was gratifying to see how happy these children were and at the end of the exercise, they all left with a toothbrush, tooth paste, a packet of milk and a snack, kindly donated by partners of KAPD in Kenya. In total 120 children were attended to during the afternoon visit. The pictures below show the school where the community oral health service was done and those who participated in the exercise.

Prior to the visit to the School, KAPD conducted a Workshop for the COHOs in attendance, geared on Oral Health care for special health care needs children.  The theme of the Workshop was “Towards better oral health for children with special needs”. The session, which was covered on the morning of 12th July 2017, was very stimulating and many ideas were generated on the issues facing these children and the limitations on the side of the oral health provider. Further, the issue of Infant Oral mutilation also arose and was extensively discussed, and unique to the East Africa region. After the Workshop, the COHOs were then ferried to the School in the afternoon to apply the new knowledge and skills imparted to them, and thereafter an interactive discussion followed. 

For the PDAEA meeting, delegates from Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya initially on 12 July 2017, joined the COHOs at the Joseph Kang’ethe School, in examining and giving of oral health education to the hearing impaired children and other the children attending the school. Later on 13 July 2017, a total of 16 members of PDAEA held a meeting at Milele Hotel to discuss common dental issued affecting children with special needs residing within the region. Representatives from each member country made presentations, except for Tanzania and Rwanda, who were not represented at the meeting for various reasons. While the members present noted that the most common oral health issued in these children hinged on the lack of oral health education, access to oral health facilities and human resource deficiency, the other problem of IOM was also noted to be a major oral health concern for the region.

The PDAEA plenary discussion that followed the presentations on 13 July 2017 resolved to take steps in stemming the increasing infant oral mutilation (IOM) practice and in finding a solution to improve oral health access by children with special health care needs in the East Africa region.  Two working teams were suggested to begin work on looking at the best approaches in managing the two challenges.

KAPD and PDAEA extend their appreciation to GCDF and its Chairman for the support in assisting the two Associations to hold and undertake the activities discussed here. Prof. Raman Bedi, graciously accepted to open the two meetings and fully participated in the discussion and provided a lot of guidance during the sessions. The Chairman of Kenya Dental Association and the Chief COHO from the ministry of Health, Kenya, were also in attendance. The two Associations, KAPD and PDAEA continue to offer leadership in the area of paediatric dentistry for Kenya and East Africa region respectively, and such meetings and activities provide members with a great opportunity to interact with one another and to recognise the magnitude of the oral health of the children in the region.