Friday, 23 November 2012

SEAL Cambodia Update

Cambodian children have one of the highest dental decay rates around the world. In a remarkable attempt to combat this, CamKids and the Global Child Dental Fund (GCDF) with the Cambodia Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, have partnered to treat 60,000 grade 2 school children initially in Phnom Penh, over the next three years through the SEAL Cambodia program. This is the program’s first year in operation. The program aims to provide protective “fissure sealants” for the permanent molar teeth of Cambodian children. The treatment is very effective at preventing decay by protecting the chewing surfaces and keeping out germs and food, which if left in the pits and fissures, lead to decay.  The program is huge and logistically complex. It needs a large number of staff to achieve the demanding goals, with International volunteers with local Khmer staff working side by side.

We want to share with you a story about a special girl named Phally. Phally is the leader for the One-2-One CAMBODIA Smile Angel dental team (all girl dental team), her team is one of many that have been busy implementing SEAL Cambodia.  Phally, has been working for One-2-One Cambodia (a partner of CamKids and GCDF) since its foundation seven years ago. She leads a team of three who travel to different schools to provide sealants for the targeted kids. Working with children and preventing pain and infection from tooth decay through SEAL Cambodia is a great joy and privilege for Phally, who like many of the kids she treats, grew up in an orphanage.

Throughout her time with One-2-One, Phally has worked on a variety of children’s’ dental programs, Many of the children have never received dental treatment before so her empathy, experience and patience pave the way to successful engagement with them. Since this is such a new experience for the children, she and her team make every effort to ensure the entire visit a fun and pleasant one. Before any sealant is applied Phally and her team provide basic oral health education, teaching kids how to correctly brush their teeth, and which sugary foods and drinks they should avoid. Teaching the children is one of the favourite parts of Phally’s role as she knows that by showing children how to take better care of their teeth, they will have a healthier and happier future.

Phally and the SEAL team would like to thank CamKids and GCDF for their support of SEAL Cambodia, without which the program would be impossible. After working with kids for so many years, Phally has a sympathetic understanding of what happens to kids that have unsealed teeth and the large number of decayed teeth that it will eventually lead to. The children treated in this program have an average of 8-10 decayed primary (baby) teeth – which is why this sealant program to protect the new permanent teeth is so important. With SEAL Cambodia in place Phally looks forward to better dental health for thousands of children across Cambodia and is immensely grateful that she gets to work with Camkids and GCDF on such a great program.

We invite you to join Phally and her team in this fantastic journey of SEAL Cambodia.

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