World Dental Development Fund: enhancing oral health in Tanzania

The 2022 WDDF winner, the Tanzania Dental Association, present the outcomes of their project focused on enhancing oral health literacy among schoolchildren.

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The FDI World Dental Development Fund (WDDF), established in 1999, supports innovative oral health initiatives in communities all around the world. The fund is committed to back projects with clear objectives to promote and improve oral health and prevent oral diseases in limited-income areas with oral health needs.

In 2022, FDI extended its support through the WDDF to a transformative initiative by the Tanzania Dental Association. The project aimed to improve the oral health of over 3,000 children in the country. Keep reading to learn about the project’s remarkable outcome.

Empowering Tanzanian schoolchildren with essential oral health care

The Tanzania Dental Association initiated a project in the Mbeya and Tanga regions with the objective of enhancing oral health awareness and providing essential oral health care to primary school children aged 7 to 12. This endeavor unfolded over two phases: from 28 March to 10 May, and then from 18 October to 11 November 2022. The project focused its efforts on six carefully chosen primary schools, spanning from Standard I to VII.

The project was carried out in collaboration with the Mbeya and Tanga College of Health and Allied Sciences - Dental therapists training schools. It focused on delivering essential treatment to primary school children suffering from dental caries and periodontal diseases. Notably, the project also served as a valuable training platform for third-year dental therapy students, allowing them to perform basic procedures for the children. An impressive total of 118 dental therapy students enthusiastically participated in this outreach effort, with 70 coming from Tanga and 48 from Mbeya.

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During the initial phase of the outreach, a remarkable 3,533 primary school children benefited from comprehensive oral health education and received essential oral hygiene instructions. As the project entered its second part in October, it faced unexpected challenges due to nationwide primary school closures. Nevertheless, the project managed to provide free screenings to 1,987 students.

FDI applauds the efforts of the Tanzanian Dental Association for improving oral health care through their initiative. Despite challenges, their dedication and adaptability continue to make a profound impact on underserved communities, bringing us one step closer to achieving better oral health for all. FDI urges national dental associations worldwide to draw inspiration from this remarkable effort and take proactive steps to enhance oral health on a global scale.

Learn more about WDDF