The Zimbabwe Dental Association (ZIDA) held World Oral Health Day (WOHD) commemorations Townhouse in Harare on the 20th of March 2015.
According to www.worldoralhealthday.com, WOHD is an international day that is set aside annually to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health as well as the importance of looking after oral hygiene to everyone old and young.
This year’s commemorations ran under the theme Smile for life. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Lazarus Dokora who was the guest of honour at the commemorations said that Government has a mandate in the prevention of oral health diseases through creation and upholding of policies conducive to health and healthy lifestyles.
“Prevention (of oral diseases) is a multi-sectorial affair involving the education sector, central government, financial sector and health sector. As Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we play a key role in creating awareness on oral health by fostering creative ways to manage continuing interest in health matters by young people,” said Dr Dokora.
Dr Dokora said that statistics from the World Dental Federation shows that 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime but, explained that this can be avoided with increased government, health association and societal support as well as funding for prevention, detection and treatment programs.
“For this reason ZIDA has decided to take on board major stakeholders to partner with the health personnel and specialists. The oral health professionals, amongst us, facilitate nationwide information dissemination to empower our communities to be better equipped to prevent oral diseases,” added Dr Dokora.
Acting City of Harare Mayor Thomas Muzuva who gave a speech on behalf of council said that it is Harare’s wish to assist wherever possible in reducing the risks of poor oral health by encouraging residents to practice and maintain their oral health by brushing teeth, eating a healthy diet and paying regular visits to the dentist.
“The City of Harare runs a number of dental clinics which include Gershon Clinic found at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital, Mufakose and Kuwadzana dental clinics among others. The dental clinics were established after realising that oral health was of paramount importance to the wellbeing of Harare residents,” said the Acting Mayor.
Acting Mayor Muzuva went on to say that his council had a goal to increase accessibility to oral health care services in line with Harare’s 2025 world class city vision, “This we plan to accomplish through establishment of world class health facilities that will cater for most health care demands, oral health included.”
Patrick Chinoputsa the senior government dental officer who was representing government at the commemorations said that government had oral health departments in all provinces as well as in some districts but said that the department was faced with various challenges which includes obsolete equipment.
The commemorations were attended by many people who included both the young and old. ZIDA also provided free dental checkups to Hararians as part of its celebrations to mark WOHD which is commemorated annually on the 20th of March worldwide.