Volunteer Efforts Enhance Oral Health in Samoa Schools

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    Afega Primary School- 13 June 2023 – Dental hygienist JICA volunteer Yukiko Motoe is making a significant impact on oral health in the community.

    Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital Dental team together with Yukiko Motoe continue to carry out dental checks and treatment. This time they visited Afega Primary School, north-western side of Upolu, as part of their ongoing outreach program to provide essential dental care to all the students.

    Samoa faces a significant oral health challenge, with the prevalence of untreated tooth decay in children aged 1-9 reaching a staggering 46.6%, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    With only 21 dentists in Samoa, representing a ratio of 1.1 per 10,000 population, the need for dental care and education is urgent. In comparison, countries like Japan have approximately 100,000 dentists (8 dentists per 10,000 population) and New Zealand has 3,000 dentists (6.2 dentists per 10,000 population).

    Yukiko works together with her colleagues to provide dental care treatment to a lot of school children. The dental team leader emphasized the invaluable contribution Yukiko makes to the team’s outreach efforts – comforting and reassuring the young patients, creating a positive and supportive experience for all.

    Of over 400 students checked, more than a quarter of those students needed filling treatment work with some students needing more than one filling. Another dentist mentioned how lucky these students were – receiving free dental care on their own school premises – compared to back in his days at school.

    The inspiring efforts of JICA volunteer has caught the attention of local media, providing an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of dental health.

    “I have worked in dentistry for over a decade. I am happy to share my experiences and contribute to dental health and spread awareness about oral health in Samoa.” said Yukiko, dental hygienist JICA volunteer.

    We sincerely appreciate your support in sharing this story with your audience. Together, we can raise awareness about the need for improved dental care and empower communities to prioritize oral health.

    For further questions or to arrange an interview, please contact us at JICA Samoa Office.