KOES - What We Do:
First Steps and Leadership
As a first step we assessed each girl's oral health and conducted individualized oral hygiene training sessions on how to care for teeth and gums. The girls and school staff received training on prevention of oral diseases, as well as education on general health and well-being, including the importance of eating a nutritionally complete and culturally appropriate diet. We also focused on providing leadership training to the students, to empower them to act as oral health advocates in their own communities. Many communities in Kenya do not have access to oral health services, or routine health care. In addition, there is a severe shortage of dental manpower for treatment of existing oral disease, thus in addition to lack of financial resources, any solution that addresses the disparities in oral heath must be prevention-focused.
To attain our goal of establishing a model for a replicable, self-sustained oral health promotion program, local support is crucial. We involved all of Daraja Academy's staff: Jason and Jenni Doherty (Daraja's founders), Victoria Gichuhi (Principal), Charles Mbuto (Dean of Academics), Francesca Muthoni (Clinical Officer), and Stephen Stems (Daraja Manager).
Other much-needed local supporters are: our Kenyan research collaborator, Dr. Kimathi Mowngera (Kenya Methodist University, Meru), local dental care provider Marius Ruto (Huruma Dental Clinic), and Sister Lucia (Director) from Huruma Health Center in Nanyuki, Kenya.
We raised the initial funding of the project with sponsorship from NYU Dentistry (Loomer research funds) and the Do A Little Fund. Dental materials and equipment were generously donated by Henry Schein Cares while Colgate-Palmolive donated personal oral health supplies.