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Wellness Trust

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Trust hosts the 2nd Oral Health Conference in Cape Town

Last August the Trust co-hosted an Oral Health Conference in Cape Town together with the University of the Western Cape. The conference brought together key oral health stakeholders and offered a creative opportunity to share ideas, evidence of research and experience in the field. This will be an opportunity for all key stakeholders to review progress of the oral health strategy in Khayelitsha and the supervised tooth brushing programme which was set up last April. The conference will be held on Thursday 21st November at Highlands House home for the elderly.

Why is an oral health strategy needed in Cape Town? In South Africa, the 18 year period since the beginning of democracy has turned out to be inadequate time to put in place interventions and structures capable of reducing the oral health risks of South African children. Perhaps the efforts put place in were misdirected, ineffective, unequally distributed or seriously under-resourced. Either way, thousands of the most vulnerable children have little opportunity to achieve good oral health. Stakeholders at the Oral Health Conference held in 2012 all agreed it was high time to address this forgotten area of the health sector.

It has been made clear that the existing provincial dental health care structures have had limited impact. This is namely because they are busy with emergency tooth removal. The private sector is scarcely represented in underprivileged areas. NGOs and project driven health care is generally focused on the big health issues such as HIV/AIDS and TB.

Since August 2012, an innovative supervised tooth brushing programme has been implemented, involving 600 school children in Khayelitsha. The November 2013 conference is an opportunity to assess how the programme has developed, challenges that have been faced, and how to…...

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