Department of Oral Health has on the 17th January 2024 joined other key health development partners to make a comprehensive input leading to the formulation of the National Oral Health Strategic Plan at the EOC conference hall, Cockrill in Freetown.
The National Stakeholders’ kickoff meeting for the formulation of the National Oral Heath Strategic Plan was organized by World Health Organization- Sierra Leone Country Office in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health.
The objective of the meeting was to discuss the formulation and importance and obtain recommendation that will be inputted in the designing of the National Oral Health Strategic Plan (NOHSP) for Sierra Leone.
As one of the key expected outcome, participant were to understand the importance of Oral Health and NOHSP to achieve Universal Health Coverage in Sierra Leone and to also understand the Oral Health landscape of Sierra Leone and provide inputs into the result of the situation analysis.
In his welcome address, the chairman of the meeting Dr. SantigiSesay who also doubles as the Director for Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) welcome all to the stakeholders’ meeting for the formulation of the National Oral Health Strategic Plan noting that Oral Health is a concern to all and therefore much needs to be done in it sensitization process.
He stated that Oral Health service centers are absent in some districts in the country which according to him is one major challenge in the health service delivery.
Dr. Sesay encouraged the department of Oral Health to continue knocking on the doors of health stakeholders to see the trajectory leading to the positive change in Oral Health landscape in Sierra Leone before calling all participants to engage in an active discussion gearing towards the promotion of Oral Health in the Country.
Dr. AlhassanSheriff is a staff member at the department of Oral Health stated that for far too long, oral health issues has been on the side line and it is time to act now and make some positive change.
Charles Mambu, Executive Director of Health For All Coalition urged all to help popularize oral health as it is a public health concern and therefore need to be addressed.
He revealed that the country is good at developing strategic plans but not good enough to implement those plans for a better Sierra Leone.
The Health For All Coalition Executive Director encouraged the Department of Oral Health to push this campaign to the end and ensure the National Oral Health Strategic Plan document is develop and implemented.
Contributions from the representatives of Inter-religious council, traditional healers and the Civil Society formed part of the successful ending of the meeting.
He revealed that WHO standard gave a ratio of one dentist to serve a population of 4,500 people which is a challenge in Sierra Leone as only 4qualify dental surgeries are serving approximately8million people with a ratio of 1 dentist to 2 million people.
Dr. Sheriff reiterated that out of sixteen districts in Sierra Leone, the access to oral health is a challenge in Bonthe, PujehunKailahun and Falaba districts to name but a few adding that it is a concern of having only one denter facility in a district and some district not having any.
He called on all to contribution to the promotion of oral health by raising awareness around oral health and to always visit the nearest health centers for a better healthcare attention.
Contributions from representatives of the Inter-religious council, traditional healers and the Civil Society formed part of the successful outcome of the meeting.
Oral health is the state of the mouth, teeth and orofacial structures that enables individuals to perform essential functions such as eating, breathing and speaking, and encompasses psychosocial dimensions such as self-confidence, well-being and the ability to socialize and work without pain, discomfort and embarrassment. Oral health varies over the life course from early life to old age, is integral to general health and supports individuals in participating in society and achieving their potential.