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Smile Grenada School's Dental Health Project Set to Begin

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ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2011: A program aimed at delivering oral and other personal health benefits to some 26,000 pre-primary, primary and secondary school students nationwide is set to begin on Monday, February 21.

The “Smile Grenada” National School Dental Health project is being executed by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and New York University (NYU).

In preparation for the program, a shipment of dental medical accessories and supplies arrived in Grenada last weekend.  Minister for Health, Sen. Ann Peters, said the project will be implemented in three phases throughout the country.

“This is the kind of success we are talking about. We don’t just run and do things so that people can say we are doing things; because if it is not properly planned and coordinated it all falls apart and just be a waste of resources,” Minister Peters said.

“So we’ve taken our time because we believe in proper planning,’’ she added. “We did our homework and we’re ready to move forward to implement a viable project; one that builds on the success and further strengthens the work of our hardworking local dental care specialists, and dental auxiliaries within our public healthcare system.’’

Sen. Peters, during her presentation at the 2011 budget debate, declared 2011 “The Year of Implementation’’ for the Ministry of Health. She has promised the implementation of important projects that will benefit individuals and families across Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“We promised that the Ministry’s philosophy of the primary healthcare approach, utilizing health promotion strategies, will be the engine that drives the process of revitalizing this country’s healthcare. That’s why we’ve started the project with the nation’s children and there is more to come,’’ she said.

Sen. Peters said government is resolute on investing in young people because they are the future. “That is why,’’ she explained, “we are looking after them and laying a solid foundation that they can build upon later in life. “Hence the reason there was an increase in the budgetary allocation of the Ministry of Youth to address the needs of our young people.’’

Less than three weeks ago, the main NYU coordinators of the “Smile Grenada’’ project visited the country to meet with Grenadian health and education officials to finalize the program’s implementation plan.

While here, they also conducted a workshop with health officials on the use of the new dental solutions, and application methods and processes that can be very effective in the program. They also offered training to local dental experts.

Vice Dean of NYU, Dr. Stuart Hirsch, said he was heartened by the level of commitment and dedication demonstrated by Minister Peters and her team to get the children’s dental program started.

The project has been endorsed by Colgate and G.C. America, who are assisting in the shipment to Grenada of 75,000 toothbrushes and toothpaste products, as well as educational materials to be utilized for the duration of the program.

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