Be Proud of Your Mouth
This year, for WOHD, Fiji Dental Association together with the Fiji Dental Students Association and Ministry of Health Department of Oral Health staff organised a number of activities ranging from news media , social media and free public examinations for the 20th of March.
- WOHD Organising Committee: Dr Leenu Maimanuku, Dr Tanveen Kaur, Dr Kartika Kajal, Mr Nemaia Loga, Ms Mariah Varasikete, Ms Supiesi Taufa
- Coordinators: Northern Division – Dr Nadeem Sattar,
- Western Division – Dr Pravina Singh,
- Students- Ms Maraia Varasikete
- Central Division- Dr Leenu Maimanuku
- Collaborating partners:
- Fiji Dental Students Association (FDSA),
- Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MOHMS),
- Fiji National University (FNU)
- Industry Partners:
- Wrigley’s Oral Healthcare Program
- Colgate’s Bright Smiles Bright Futures Program.
- Funding and Donations (cash or kind): FDA, MOHMS, FNU, Industry partners, individual dental practitioner.
- Photo Credits: FDA member Dr Tanveen Kaur with BDS 5 student Aniketh Reddy. Coconut frond mouth frame designed and made by MOHMS dental intern Dr Krupali.
- Free Dental Checks: 72 Volunteers, 9 locations, 883 people examined
- Continuing Professional Development and Fellowship:
95 participants in person, 56 attended on online
- Community Oral Health Awareness program: 55 participants
Free Dental Check and Oral Health Consultations
- Dental Screening
- Toothbrushing Instructions and Toothbrush Handouts (paeds + adults)
- Sugar free chewing gum
- Treatment advice and Appropriate Referrals
- Oral Hygiene Advice + Education on Disease Progression (caries, perio, oral cancer)
- Smoking Cessation Advice
- Dental crossword games provided in toothbrush packs
Instructions on how to register for free dental treatment at the Fiji National University Dental Clinics was provided as an option for future dental care to all who participated in activities for the day. Approximately 70% of those who attended the free checks were interested in being contacted for appointments with dental students at the Fiji National University for subsequent treatments.
The Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete opened the World Oral Health Day activities at one of the free dental check venues on Sunday morning by encouraging everyone to “maintain good hygiene”. Dr Devina Nand, Director Wellness, Ministry of Health and Medical Services visited one of the venues and spoke to media about oral health and wellness.
Free dental checks were conducted in the Central Eastern Division in the following venues :
- Tikaram Park, Lami Town
- ROC Market, Suva City
- Damodar City, Laucala Bay
- CJS Supermarket, Nabua
- RB Patel, Laucala Beach Estate
- NEWWORLD, Valelevu
- Rup’s Big Bear complex, Nakasi
- NEWWORLD, Labasa
- Shashi’s Supermarket, Labasa
Continuing Professional Development and Fellowship
On the evening of March 20th, the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Waqainabete and Director Wellness, Dr Devina Nand along with Divisional Dental Officer Eastern Division, Divisional Dental Officer Northern Division (zoom) and Principal Dental Officer Labasa Hospital (zoom) joined 95 dental practitioners and invited guests in person, and 56 online participants in a discussion lead by Dr Suneil Nath, A/Prof. in Paediatric Dentistry on The impact of oral health on children’s happiness and well-being.
A satellite CPD session was arranged by Dr Kishor Kumar on the second largest island in Fiji. Dental practitioners gathered at his home, joined the WOHD CPD session and formalities through zoom and enjoyed an evening of collegial fellowship.
Community Oral Health Awareness Program
Dental Practitioners from Lautoka delivered a Community Oral Health Awareness program with the Lautoka Hospital Medical Superintend (MS) Dr Rigamoto Taito, nursing staff from the MCH clinics including pre-natal and post-natal nursing staff, youth members and pastors of faith-based groups. They discussed the importance of Oral Health during all stages of life from womb to adulthood and provided educational materials to all participants. The World Oral Health Day celebration provided a suitable platform to disseminate Oral Health Wellness information. A booklet was designed to be given to all mothers at Post natal ward to use as a guide in monitoring their child’s tooth eruption dates and care with emphasis on the 8 wellness visits.
Social media campaigns, press releases, TV, newspaper, and Radio interviews focused on the following themes:
- Promoting WOHD theme: Be proud of your mouth for your happiness and wellbeing
- Creating awareness of WOHD activities, location of events and benefits of attending.
- Providing toothbrushing advice: Gently brushing all surfaces of teeth with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes twice a day and cleaning the tongue; Spitting and not rinsing after toothbrushing; Changing toothbrushes every 3 months.
- Promoting annual dental check-up and a proactive attitude towards oral health.
- Dental professionals help patients achieve pride in their mouth by providing treatment and counselling tailored to the patients’ needs.
- Neglecting Oral Health will affect quality of life.
- Universal Health Coverage: every person, everywhere should have access to the health services they need without the risk of financial hardship when paying for the services.
Mass media news coverage: 14 mentions of WOHD on newspaper, radio and TV including two segments during peak hour national news with highest viewing records.
- Fiji TV: The ROC Market Free Dental Check team with Dr Devina Nand Head of Wellness saying “Be Proud of your Mouth”
- Fiji One News @6pm promotion of WOHD activities and venues on March 19th
- Fiji One News @6pm coverage of WOHD activities and interview with Minister for Health on March 20th
- Early career dental practitioners and students interviewed by newspapers and TV reporters.
- Minister for Health shared a Tweet about his participation in WOHD activities.
Social Media: Approximately 30 individual posts seen from dental practitioners, dental students and the public on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, which were shared and retweeted by many. Several sharing and retweeting of official Fiji Dental Association WOHD posts.
Free dental check-ups on Sunday held at easily accessible venues was appreciated by many parents who brought along their children.
Mr Harm visited the Damodar City Free dental check tent with his family. He said, “We don’t take our children for dental check-ups frequently because we both work, and they have school.”
Mrs Helen Roden, a 34-year-old mother of four children brought her family to one of the WOHD venues. She said, “ I’m a busy mother of four small children, I know they should see a dentist regularly, but I can’t take them to one in the weekdays. I am grateful for the free dental check-up happening this Sunday in our area.”
Positive feedback was received from dental practitioners who felt that being able to get out of dental practices and engage in a community outreach project was highly satisfying.
Dr Chamath Karunaratne a private practitioner in Suva said, “I was very fortunate to find time and energy to engage in community work from private practice after a long time and this feeling of “giving” was exhilarating.” Dr Chamath produced a video of the free dental check-up at the Nakasi venue with his team .
Dr Kaitlyn Khan, a dental intern at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital said, “Lami team encountered a higher number of people than anticipated. However, patient flow was good. 51% of patients screened were paediatric patients 16 years and under. 90% of referrals were made to FNU, especially those needing extensive treatment such as NSPD, Conservative treatment and prosthodontic treatment collectively. Emergency treatment such as extractions and facial swellings were referred to nearby public dental clinics and patients were advised to attend as soon as possible.”
Mariah Varasikete, President of the Fiji Dental Students Association said, “the day was a great experience especially for students and reaching out to the community. Health Promotion was really carried out well by the students on the day where they took the initiative to reach out to the public and empower them to be proud of their mouth. Can’t wait for what next year has in store as we continue to close the gap with oral health & awareness in the community ”
Dr Kartik Rathod added “I was really happy to be part of the World Oral Health Day Celebration.” “Conducting a free dental check-up was a great way to create oral health awareness and certainly a good way to celebrate World Oral Health Day. Can’t wait for next year! “
Jivesh Ram a fourth-year dental student said, “I guess I could say that it was nice to see how many students readily volunteered and were willing to step up for the role and avail themselves during the weekend, together with all the other dentists who joined along for the campaign. Also, it was wonderful to hear about all the positive inflow of patients that turned up for the check-ups and took advantage of such an opportunity.”
Supiesi Taufa a fourth-year dental student said “It was a great experience for me. To have the opportunity to step out of studying environment and promote Oral health to the public. And to socialize with many dentists that are now in the Ministry of Health, serving the public. I had the chance to hear about their experiences in the work field.”
Acknowledgements and Appreciation
Sincere appreciations to:
- Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Health and Medical Services,
- Dr Devina Nand, Director Wellness, and her team Mr Karan, Mr Loga and Mr Penioni Ravunawa
- Divisional Dental Officers, Principal Dental Officers and participating dental practitioners from MOHMS
- Fiji National University ICT Department staff, Head of School of Dentistry and Oral Health, participating dental practitioners and clinic staff from SDOH and administrative support staff Mr Riyaz Shah, Mrs Sangeeta Chand, Mr Dharmesh Lingam and Ms Sanjeshni Kumar and WOHD 2022 Keynote Speaker Assistant Professor Dr Suneil Nath
- President Ms Mariah Varasikete, and members of the Fiji Dental Students Association
- To the generous dental practitioner donors Dr Mehar Ali, Dr Vinal Harkishan, Dr Temalesi King, Dr Vishnu Shankar, Dr Vikash Singh, Dr Shivaan Kumar.
- Dr Kishor Kumar and family for hosting dinner at his home in Labasa and arranging for Northern Division practitioners to join the WOHD celebrations through zoom.
- Dr Anand Sagar for donating gloves, masks and face shields
- Wrigley’s Oral Health Program for funding support and provision of health promotion materials and give away chewing gum.
- Colgate’s Bright Smiles Bright Futures program for donations including 4000 toothbrushes.
- Media partners: Communications Fiji Ltd, Fiji Broadcasting Commission, Fiji Sun, Fiji Times, Fiji TV.
- Venue providers for the free dental checks: Lami Town Council, C.J. Singh Supermarket, ROC Market, Damodar City, RB Patel Supermarket (Centerpoint), New World Supermarkets (Valelevu and Labasa), Rups Big Bear Complex, Sashi’s Supermarket
- Volunteer dental practitioners and team leaders; Dr Kaitlyn Khan, Dr Kantara Tiim, Dr Krupali, Ms Reshma Lal, Dr Mehar Ali, Mrs Deepti Singh, Dr Chamath Karunaratne, Dr Nadeem Sattar and Dr Pravina Singh.
- Fiji Dental Association President Dr Parikshath Naidu, Executives, and members of the association for financing, organising, coordinating, and participating in WOHD events.
WOHD 2022 Organising Committee Dr Leenu Maimanuku (chair), Dr Tanveen Kaur (treasurer), Dr Kartika Kajal (secretary), Mr Nemaia Loga, Ms Mariah Varasikete and Ms Supiesa Taufa