Hadassah UK Trustee and Founder of Dental Wellness Trust Spearheads Oral Health Initiative in South Africa
Dr. Linda Greenwall in South Africa
Thanks to the Dental Wellness Trust, founded by
Hadassah United Kingdom Trustee Dr. Linda Greenwall, an innovative, supervised
tooth brushing program has been taking place in Khayelitsha, South Africa since
last April, involving 600 school children.
A follow-up conference last month in South Africa provided
an opportunity to assess the program’s strategy and progress in promoting good
oral health among the country’s most vulnerable children. Dr. Alon Livny of
Hadassah’s School of Dental Medicine was one of the presenters. Following the
conference, he and Dr. Greenwall led an oral health screening program for the
children. Dr. Livny is also
leading the major research on the supervised tooth brushing program in Khayalitcha, a
township near Cape Town. Plans are in the works to extend the study to reach
1200 children in 8 schools in South Africa. The study model is based on the
research being done at Hadassah among Arab and Jewish school children.
August, the Dental Wellness Trust, a London-based charity which promotes dental
wellness for less fortunate communities in the UK and abroad, 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
an opportunity to share ideas, clinical experience, and research. The
participating stakeholders all agreed it was high time to address this
forgotten area of the health sector, which has been on the back burner because
existing dental health care facilities are preoccupied with emergency tooth
removal, rather then preventive care.
Youth Aliyah villages provide a safety net of services—food, shelter, education and love—to immigrants and at-risk Israeli children from poor or abusive homes in Israel. With guidance, nurturing, and first-rate instruction, students learn the skills they need to succeed in modern-day Israel.
discovered,” explains Dr. Greenwall, “is that the program has far-reaching
effects for the children, the teachers, the parents, and the wider community.
It has offered inspiration to others, who see that this program is about more
than the dental health of these children; that there is also the sense of
accomplishment and affirmation for those involved because they see that they have
made a difference in the lives of the kids and the wider community. As a result
of this program, there is better communication between teachers and kids,
parents and teachers, and kids and their parents. Cleaning their teeth with
pride and joy and a song in their hearts has given the kids great satisfaction and
happiness in a job well done.” For
more information, see dentalwellnesstrust.org.