WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2010 (PAHO) – On July 23rd, 2010, the Oral Health of Haiti (OHOH) Coalition, spearheaded by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), sent a shipment of donated dental supplies to public clinics providing dental services in Haiti. This shipment marks the first wave of many containers of dental materials to be sent to Haiti and serves as a promising sign that tangible progress is being made to address the oral health concerns in Haiti.
Following the January 12th earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, the OHOH Coalition conducted a rapid needs assessment to assess the immediate needs of the Haitian population and the existing dental resources. With the support of the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA), the appropriate dental materials, equipment, and supplies were secured.
The OHOH Coalition consists of stakeholders from many sectors of oral health including academia, industry, NGOs, research institutions, and international organizations, including the Alpha Omega Foundation, DTA, and NYU School of Dentistry. Its primary mission is to work synergistically to provide a coordinated, sustainable disaster response to restore and improve the oral health services in Haiti.
“The DTA is committed to access to oral health care for everyone,” according to DTA Chief Executive Officer, Gary Price. “We are pleased to participate in this coalition. Many of our member companies have provided much needed support to the Haitian citizens through this effort and other programs. We hope this support will contribute to improved conditions for the people of Haiti.”
The first container of this considerable donation was shipped with the help of Global Links, a non-profit organization that has collaborated with PAHO for 19 years and has experience in disaster recovery efforts.
“Oral health is an important part of overall health and we are delighted to provide our technical expertise to a project that will be so beneficial to the Haitian people,” said Kathleen Hower, Global Links CEO. “This is one of many targeted medical aid shipments that we will be delivering to Haiti over the next two years, in coordination with PAHO.”
The next shipment of supplies to Haiti will include instruments donated by individual dentists as well as a Panorex machine donated by NYU School of Dentistry to the University of Haiti Dental School. The NYU School of Dentistry has also committed to sending 19 dental chairs to the University of Haiti Dental School.
“This is an excellent example of how collaboration at the highest level maximizes the efficiency to deliver services required to meet the needs of the people,” said Saskia Estupiñán-Day, PAHO Regional Advisor for Oral Health.
In addition to providing dental equipment, PAHO on behalf of the OHOH Coalition is making great strides to improve the coverage of dental services in Haiti by integrating oral health into the government’s new primary health system.
As Haiti begins to enter the reconstruction phase, more dental equipment will be needed to overcome the burden of oral disease. Donations to the OHOH can be made via the Web site of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), who is a partner in the initiative, at http://www.pahef.org/ohoh; a list of needed supplies can be found at http://www.dentaltradealliance.org/news/index.html.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency with more than 100 years of experience in working to improve health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. It serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system.