|Oral Health is Focus of New International Effort in Haiti|
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 20, 2011 — A coalition of dental schools, professional associations, foundations, U.S. government agencies, and other organizations have joined together to improve oral health care for residents of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and surrounding areas affected by the January 2010 earthquake.
The effort is being led by the Regional Oral Health Program of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and PAHO/WHO’s country office in Haiti. It provides dental materials and equipment for prevention, infection control, dental restoration and surgery to better meet the basic oral health needs of Haitians who were made more vulnerable by last year’s quake.
Based on a post-disaster needs assessment funded by the Alpha Omega Foundation, donations and technical support were provided by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH/NIDCR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Dental Trade Alliance, Henry Schein, Global Links, the New York University College of Dentistry, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the University of Maryland Dental School, the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, the Pan American Health and Education Foundation, the International Association of Dental Research, the American Dental Education Association, and the American Dental Association. Among the donations received were dental chairs, mobile dental units, dental instruments, oral x-ray machines, and cargo services, among others.
So far, more than two dozen health institutions in Haiti are using the donations to provide oral health care primarily to displaced persons in and around Port-au-Prince as well as to strengthen oral health services within the primary health care system, and to increase emergency response capacity.
The systematic distribution of these donations has provided an opportunity to strengthen the network of oral health service sites within Haiti. Additional efforts include a systematic assessment of the oral health system; organization of oral health prevention awareness campaigns; and advocacy for oral health and dental clinics to participate in emergency response actions during the cholera outbreak.