At least 50 percent of Malawian school-going children have dental caries which progress and worsen when they get to 17 years of age, health officials have disclosed.
Assistant Director of Clinical Services responsible for Oral Health in the Ministry of Health, Enock Phale disclosed this Monday during the launch of Oral Health week in Blantyre.
Phale attributed the trend to poor dietary habits and lifestyles which result into teeth decays and sepsis in children who later in their life develop teeth diseases bringing the percent of 17 year-olds with dental diseases at 78 percent.
“School going children aged between six and nine have tooth decay which comes as a result of poor diet and lifestyle like the love of sugary foods.”
“The decay among this age group is unattended to therefore advances when the child reaches 17 years,” explained Phale.
To contain the situation, Phale said the Ministries of Health and Education have taken the Oral Health Week to schools so that school going children acquire best practices of oral health.
“Children are a vulnerable group who do not have a luxury of walking into a hospital or dental facility to seek help whenever they have teeth or gum diseases.
“So this week will help us reach out to them with proper screening and treatment to those school going children,” added Phale.
The Oral Health Assistant Director indicated that they had planned to reach out to 17,000 people including Chichiri Prison, noting that prisoners were a marginalized group as they have limited access to dental health treatment.
“We have included Chichiri Prison to benefit from our Oral Health week’s free screening and treatment because we feel they have limited access to oral health services.
“The coming in of Dentaid UK has beefed up our staff and we will be able to reach out to as many people as we can surpass 17,000.
The Oral Health Week is been commemorated under the theme ‘A lasting healthy Smile’ and Dentaid UK is expected to offer free screening and treatment to pupils from Mpingwe, Mzamba, Yolodani, Makalanga, St Theresa and Chigumukire Primary Schools as well as Chichiri Prison.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :