Healthy Smiles, Better Lives
Thank you to all our donors, we have met our fundraising goal!
Laavanya’s 5-year-old daughter Asheni loves going to school and playing with her friends. Yet some days she can’t because she is in so much pain from tooth aches that have been troubling her for more than a year. Asheni, nor her brother and sister, have ever been to a dentist. They live in a remote fishing village where there is none. In fact, there are no oral health services in the village and the nearest hospital is way too far for them to travel. When Asheni has a flare up, Laavanya rubs herbal medicine on her gums but it doesn’t seem to help. She has noticed Asheni withdrawing from her friends and smiling less. Laavanya is at a loss as to what to do. With her husband taking off for months at a time, she has a never-ending to do list and little time or money to spare for travelling long distances to a dentist.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Building the infrastructure for a mobile dental clinic that will deliver oral health services and education to children, pregnant mothers and families in the most vulnerable and remote communities of the Mannar district of North Western Sri Lanka. In doing so, we will give communities access to ongoing and holistic oral health care made up of preventive treatment, curative treatment, and awesome resources showing families how to improve and keep up good dental health at home.
WHY WE ARE DOING IT
Simply put, to give kids better lives. Poor oral health in childhood is a widespread problem in areas of Sri Lanka where communities have limited or no access to dental health care. This impacts hugely on kids’ general health and wellbeing while they are young and has far reaching effects into adulthood.
As a child, mouth pain and oral disease can:
- Stop participation in schooling
- Disrupt sleep
- Inhibit growth
- Affect physical appearance, shaking self-confidence and making it harder (and physically painful!) to socialise
As an adult, these problems persist and it’s often too late for treatment. Mouth pain, infection and tooth loss exacerbate other health conditions and impair overall wellbeing – physically, psychologically and financially.
HOW WE ARE DOING IT
Over the next two years, we will work with the local health department in Mannar to:
- Design a mobile health clinic that best serves the community’s needs
- Equip the clinic to provide the critical dental care and services critical
- Design an extensive schedule and communications plan with the local government to ensure that we reach every school in the district and visit as many villages each year to access the wider community
- Establish monitoring systems to ensure that these communities are adequately served
- Design an oral education programme that can support the clinic services and create longer term improvement in oral health
- Work with the local government to resource the clinic with a full professional dental team and sufficient budget
- Engage local health and education agencies creating local buy-in for the ongoing operation of the clinic in the long-term
HOW YOU CAN HELP
With your support you can help 24,000 children and families access a dentist – in most cases, for the first time in their lives! With your support, the clinic will have the resources to reach 350 schools at least once a year, the most remote schools twice, and share educational resources on oral self-care in every community visited.