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ASEAN Journal of Community Engagement

Abstract

Dental caries affect 87.4% of Filipinos while 48.3% have periodontal disease. In most developing low-income countries like the Philippines, more than 90% of caries is untreated. Because of the evident disparities in health, high cost of healthcare, unaffordable and unavailable health service, there was a call for reorientation towards prevention on a mass scale by the World Health Organization. This pushed for oral health promotion in schools. Schools give an ideal setting for introducing preventive measures for health with the objective of developing sustainable health promoting behavior change and long-term health outcome improvements. The dental interns from the University of the Philippines College of Dentistry use community-based education to assist the community in developing programs that promote, achieve, and maintain oral health. The partners tapped in the inter-local health zone of AMIGA in Cavite were the elementary and high schools in the 5 municipalities. The schools engaged in the program depended on the priority barangay identified by both AMIGA and the University. Thus, needs analysis was the first step in isolating the emergent oral health problem and eventually drafting the program. Consultation and presentation of the oral health status of the students to the stakeholders, specifically parents, teachers, municipal dentist, municipal health officer, and local government officials were scheduled so that the needed support and commitment are both realized. The programs and activities done in the partner school were Oral Screening, Atraumatic Restorative Treatments, Scaling and Polishing, Topical Fluoride Application, and Oral Health Promotion. Both preventive and curative treatment modalities were employed in addressing dental disease. Choice of strategy was dependent on the resources of each municipality and reflects the prioritization of the local government on health. Success of the programs relied heavily on the participation of all the stakeholders from organizing, financing, promotion, and implementation. Endorsement of the activities to the municipal dentist, together with referrals of specific cases not managed in the community setting was done to facilitate monitoring and evaluation.

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