Zambian Oral Health Programme Update

Representatives of the Zambian Oral Health Capacity Programme recently provided the following update on their work. 

From the 11th-12th May we had the privilege of receiving Professor Raman Bedi, Chairman of the Global Child Dental Fund at King’s College, London.

Professor Bedi’s visit gave us great encouragement and we are now looking forward to continuing the Zambian project beyond the initial three year pilot period.

Pictured oppposite: all those in attendance during the two days of meetings.  

We reviewed why the project started and the fact that the DNA of the project must not change. However, there was agreement that the project tactics  need to adapt to fulfil the overriding project objectives 

Professor Bedi gave a presentation outlining the ever-evolving challenges for the global dental profession, and articulated the importance of ensuring dental students are receiving the type of exposure that will prove practically and technically valuable throughout their working lives.

Both Enock Phale, the project administrator and Chonde represented the project, taking questions from the floor and presenting the achievements of the work to date. In total, 11,194 pupils from 20 schools have been treated, including many disabled children.

New Principal for Lusaka Dental School
When the project begun in 2014 Dr Nalumino Sayela was the Principal of Lusaka Dental School. He has since moved on to continue his studies and was replaced by Dr Mmembe (pictured opposite in discussion with Proffesor Bedi). Dr Mmembe attended with a number of lecturers and three dental students. She was delighted that the project has been successful and pledged to exert her energies to furthering the work, particularly with regard to the participation of Dental Students.

The Zambia Dental Association
The ZDA was represented by its Vice President Dr Gabriel Mpundu (pictured opposite). Dr Mpundu reaffirmed the ZDA’s support for programmes which enhance public health. He also explained that Zambia does not currently have a dedicated pediatric dentist, and that efforts should be made to identify and equip someone for this role. 

The Ministry of Health
The Zambian Ministry of Health was represented by Dr Muteba and Mr Mayuni. Dr Muteba is the Deputy Director and Mr Mayuni is the Chief Dental Therapist.

Dr Muteba was pleased with the project achievements and keen to see the efforts extended to at least 3 more provinces. He also confirmed that the project would soon receive a donation of 5 dental chairs.

Future plans
It was agreed that if the project does not become self-sustainable in the future then it may have to end. Writing to the Ministry of Health for assistance was one of the options discussed. We also explored the possibility of foreign volunteers coming through. This is something we expect to action in what is now the third and final year of our pilot period.