Providing dental healthcare for the disadvantaged youth of Liberia, West Africa
After performing a 10-day Oral Health Assessment for HIV-positive children ages 4 to 16 in 2004, Dr. Ajavon-Cox realized the urgent need for dental care in all sectors of Liberia. Since the close of civil war in 2003, the Liberian government has done little to secure funding for oral health prevention and emergency programs. Dr. Ajavon-Cox has organized a team of caring volunteers to go into low-income areas surrounding Monrovia to educate and provide preventative dental care to school children. Smiles for Liberia is the first program of its kind in Liberia and has the potential to educate thousands, train new dental professionals, and empower children to take oral health seriously.
Mission: We will visit schools within the Monrovia Area, with an emphasis on boarding and public primary schools. Preventive care will entail a comprehensive oral exam, prophylaxis and sealants. Students with incipient lesions will be treated on site. Those students with multiple large carious lesions will be referred to the main hospital for treatment. Extractions will be done when there are emergencies. Our team will consist of a Dentist, a Hygienist and two Dental Assistants. We will visit schools once a week. During prevention, we will show students how to brush using toothbrushes and chewing sticks. We will emphasize the use of local ingredients, ashes, and toothpaste with fluoride easily accessed at the local markets. Oral Hygiene Instruction and Care will be disseminated in English and Liberia dialects.
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