Ghana commemorates World Oral Health Day

Ghana on Tuesday, joined other countries across the globe, to commemorate the World Oral Health Day, which aimed at creating public awareness and advocacy on prioritising and improving access to dental health services.

Ghana marked the day with a durbar organised by the Uniliver Ghana Pepsodent Group, in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Ghana Dental Association (GDA) and the Ministry of Education.

It attracted more than 2,000 pupils from basic and junior high schools in Accra.

Mr Yao Ziobeieton, the Managing Director of Uniliver Ghana, in an address, said the day was commemorated against the background of alarming global statistics, which placed tooth decay as the world’s most widespread chronic disease, affecting at least six out of ten children and almost every adult.

In Ghana plaque, decayed, missing and stained teeth, as well as bad breath were chronic and widespread, and continued to affect nine in ten children, with the entire adult population not left out despite the commendable efforts made by the GDA to address these challenges.

Mr Ziobeieton explained that the annual event on the theme: “Say Ahh: Think Mouth, Think Health,” was therefore opportune, as it encouraged people “…to relate their oral health to their general health and well-being”.

According to him, it was realised after intense researches, that the simple act of brushing the teeth twice in a day with a fluoride toothpaste like Pepsodent, could reduce all tooth cavities by at least 50 per cent.

The Uniliver Ghana Pepsodent Group had therefore embarked upon a commitment drive aimed at touching one billion people globally, and in Ghana “our ambition is to teach ten million Ghanaian children to brush their teeth twice a day by 2020,” he said.

He called upon all multinational companies and organisations, to join Uniliver Ghana, to rid the country of tooth decay and other oral health diseases.

Dr Nana Asante Appiah, the President of the Ghana Dental Association, commended Uniliver Ghana and other partners including the media, for their sustained advocacy and public education.

He however lamented over the very low dentist ratio to the population, which currently stood at 1:150,000.

 He said for Ghana, to make any meaningful headway in reducing the high poor oral health statistics, there must be a strategic focus on prevention through wider access to regular dental check-ups and care for all.

He further pleaded with the government for the removal of the present Valued Added Tax and other levies on imported dental equipment and consumables, to help reduce the cost of dental health care and services.

Dr Anastasia Yirenkyi, the Director in Charge of Traditional Medicines at the Ministry of Health, commended the management of Uniliver Ghana for the initiative and commitment towards the enhancement of oral health of Ghanaians.

She said the Ministry considered the current poor state of oral health care service provision of the country as one that required special attention.

She cited the fact that there was an uneven distribution of dental clinics, which were mostly centred in Accra and Kumasi, against the few others doted around the other regions.

She said the MOH was collaborating with the University of Ghana Dental School and the Kintampo College of Health, to train more Dentists and Dental Assistants respectively.

She noted that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s promise to provide dental facilities in every district within the coming years, still remain a key focus of the government in the drive towards achieving Universal Health Care through expanded access.

Dr Yirenkyi said the Ministry would also continue to strengthen preventive measures being implemented across the country, which included community-based interventions, and school based placement of fissure sealants, to address oral health conditions like dental caries.

She reiterated the need to intensify education on the appropriate ways of teeth brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups.   

Some dignitaries on the dais later joined the schoolchildren in the mass demonstration of the appropriate way of teeth brushing.

Source: GNA

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