In this edition of WOHD the Kenya Dental Association visited Lamu County which is comprised of a group of Islands. We had our local and important support partner Safari Doctors on the ground. We did screening for over 1200 people of various age groups ranging from 3 years to 95 years of age. We also did treatment for those in pain, ranging from minor oral surgery to basic endodontic treatment. As proper, we did oral health education to the masses and engaged the county government officials on the need to invest in oral health both in primary and curative healthcare. Through our various partners such as Wrigleys, Colgate, GSK Consumer, SAI Pharmaceuticals, Dentmed, Transafrica Supplies, Mega We Care, and Stedman Pharmaceuticals we were able to provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwashes and other adjuncts. Lamu County has for a long time been marginalized and on the receiving end of insurgent incursions leading to the kidnapping of tourists and other dignitaries by militia groups. This limited our penetration but we did the best that we can.
Donkeys. What about them? They are the main transport means for goods in the many islands of Lamu County. You will have to go to the mainland parts of Lamu to remember what a vehicle looks like. While Motorbikes have recently joined the party, donkeys are still king. Which is why we included them in our opening march as opened the World Oral Health Day week in Lamu County. School Children from multiple schools were involved in the march together with local traditional song and dance musicians. We marched from the King Fahd Hospital to the Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In front of a former military precolonial Garrison which is now a public library and museum, we gave a talk on Oral Health behaviour including oral hygiene instructions and oral health-seeking behaviour like visiting your dentist.
The main travel between islands was by boat. Courtesy of our local partner Safari Doctors, we were able to move from one point to another. It was humbling as it was gratifying getting to spread the good news and the message of "Be Proud of Your Mouth". The need is there for sure given the inadequate support oral health is getting from the local governments. This is in terms of staffing and also support with materials, equipment, and diversity in service provision. We will keep up the fight and hopefully get there where smiles last for a lifetime.
4 Fifth Ngong Avenue