EDSA’s past volunteer work programme was called “Pamoja”. The word Pamoja means “together” in Swahili. The project is a collaboration with the Tanzanian Dental Students’ Association (TDSA) and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS).
The Pamoja mission statement is “Together maintaining a quality smile”. Pamoja is a student-led project, whereby dental students are working together to fulfil a common goal; to further improve the provision of oral healthcare in Tanzania.
The volunteer project will be located specifically in Dar es Salaam and Morogoro in Tanzania. Currently the dentist to population ratio in Tanzania is about 1:120,000 people compared to a ratio of 1:7,500, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in developing countries. With the aforementioned ratio in mind, it became clear that EDSA, TDSA and MUHAS could work together to make a significant impact on the provision of oral health care in Tanzania.
The aims of the project are to:
Educate school children in Dar es Salaam and Morogoro about oral health
Reinforce the WHO’s Fit for School initiative set up by a Finnish dental team in Morogoro schools
Provide the children with a supply of toothbrushes and toothpaste
Screen the children for oral diseases and provide treatment if required
The oral hygiene component of the project will include comprehensive oral health education of the school pupils provided by the dental volunteers. The team will also provide each pupil with a supply of toothbrushes and toothpaste.
The Pamoja volunteer work team have visited Tanzania twice over the past year to conduct various feasibility studies. The project details have been finalised and the project will take place over 2 weeks starting in early August 2015. The project details are as follows:
The outreach team will be led by experienced dentists and comprise of multiple dental students from Europe and Tanzania. Depending upon the needs and particular circumstances of the local communities, the teams will provide multiple levels of care.
Our primary mission is to educate children about the importance of oral health. The project will focus on education and prevention but will also involve the provision of direct care.
The outreach in August 2015 will start at a school in Dar es Salaam with oral screening and education. . Children requiring treatment will be referred to MUHAS School of Dentistry for treatment The team will then relocate to Morogoro and set up a prevention programme in two primary schools over five days.
The team’s main aims over two weeks are to educate, screen and treat approximately 1000 children and also reinforce the WHO’s Fit for Schools initiative which a team Finnish dentists started in Morogoro. This model is currently being used successfully as part of the Amchi Smiles Programme in Ladakh, India.
We anticipate that the project will continue to take place annually during the summer and EDSA is thoroughly looking forward to working with the TDSA and MUHAS on such a worthy cause.