At the Senior Dental Leaders 6 conference in 2012, we partook in very revealing discussions with delegates from Fiji and the Solomon Islands. We came to understand that children in these countries are suffering unduly because professional dental provision is in very short supply. In the capital city of the Solomon Islands, Honiara, for example, there is only one dental facility serving the city’s entire populous of 75,000 people. Sadly, more than 80% of children ages 3-5 years in Fiji suffer from dental caries, and most require general anesthesia.

We will be working with the SDL-6 delegates and local partners to build a dynamic dental health network comprising dental and general healthcare professionals, NGO’s, academics, therapists and clinicians.

The network will bring about significant improvements to the standards of oral health in Fiji and the Solomon island initially, particularly for children with special care needs and children in remote areas.

The objectives of the network will be pursued through the following activities:

  • Developing a national school-based oral health curriculum will be created to focus on betel nut and tobacco smoking prevention.
  • Training the local dental and primary care workforce.
  • Instilling into the next generation of dental professionals a sense of social responsibility.
  • Integrating oral health car into primary care through Maternal and Child health clinics.
  • Providing fluoridated toothpaste, tooth brushes, and oral hygiene education among children.

Over time, we hope to hope to expand the network to include other countries in the Pacific region.