KINGSTON, March 22 (JIS):
The Ministry of Health launched its National Sealant Programme on March 21 at the Clan Carthy Primary School in Kingston.
The programme aims to provide access to preventative oral and dental care for primary- and basic-school children in need of these services.
A clinical session facilitated by teams from the Ministry of Health and the University of Technology (UTech) was held at the school.
Some 300 students in grades one and six received dental examination and had fluoride varnish and sealants put in to prevent tooth decay. The teams will continue to administer dental care to the school’s 900 students over a two-week period.
In his remarks at the launch, Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the initiative, which targets the poor and vulnerable, aims to promote good oral hygiene habits among children.
He noted that the Ministry is taking steps to roll out the programme to all primary and basic schools across the island, with the aim of reaching 8,800 students.
“Today, it’s about pushing for the interest of the young people at Clan Carthy, but also looking to make this a national programme. We are introducing the sealant programme starting with about 30 per cent of the age cohort,” he said.
“Over time, the intention is to expand that across the entire country. I want an entire cohort across all the schools in Jamaica to have exposure to the sealant programme. It is a programme to protect your teeth and your quality of life,” the Minister added.
According to the Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth (DMFT) survey conducted by the Ministry, 60 per cent of children in the 12-year-old cohort have good oral health, while the remaining 40 per cent has either missing, filled or decayed teeth.
The initiative aims to put interventions in place to cultivate healthy oral habits before children make the transition to high school.
Dr. Tufton said the intervention also includes a fluoride varnish programme which targets children aged five to six in a bid to prevent dental caries from forming before they enter the public education system.
The national dental sealant programme is being supported through donations by corporate companies Colgate, Nestlé Jamaica Limited and international humanitarian dental project, Great Shape! Inc.
CONTACT: ROCHELLE WILLIAMS