As you probably know at this point, Ortiz-Vigón Clinic is founder entity of Smile is a Foundation, a non-profit organization.
The last field campaign that has been carried out was developed in December 2016 and we already have the abstract in numbers. We want to share with all of you this information so you know better fieldwork of Smile is to Foundation. On the other hand, we would like to take advantage of these lines to remind the importance of the individual collaborations to make possible to bring health along Zimbabwe and to continue dreaming about new projects.
Last campaign figures
“On the road” assistance caravan
At the end of 2016 and for the last campaign we have carried out, we fostered a mobile caravan to assist patients “on the road”. A whole day focused on providing assistance and a day to move from one place to another in order to cover the whole area in which we operate. Intervention point are stablished in the areas that a great flow of population can be found. Local clinics are not well equipped neither in terms of material nor doctors, but we take advantage of them to settle our workcamp for a day and give adequate assistance to local people. Smile is a Foundation brings in all the material, the toolkit and the human team. Zimbabwe’s Govern contributes with various dentists and nurses who help us in driving an efficient process.
We see patients of all ages
During our last campaign, in December 2016, we have seen 1,874 patients. More than a third, 35%, are young people aged between 25 and 45.
Every year we build up campaign clinics in 5 different zones, all of them are surrounding the natural park between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. Many times, our clinic is settled next to a school because these are places in which can be found a great flow of people.
But only a 17% of the patients we serve are children and teenagers. The rest are relatives and people living around who come to our caravan because it is the only chance they will have to count on with medical advice.
Prevention is crucial with young people
Although we attend everyone who needs us, we do an intensive work with people under 25. Until 25 years old, our patients’ oral health is not especially severe: only a 20% has lots one or more teeth. But only 50% of people aged 25 and older preserves all their teeth and the 20% has already lost 3 or more teeth. A percentage that raises to 40% of the patients older than 45 and in the case of people aged 65 or older, half of the population hast lost three or more teeth.
In a country like Zimbabwe, where there are no minimum oral health services, oral affections rapidly derive in teeth loss. Curiously, that’s why the distribution of the number of caries is similar in the first and last stages of life: kids aged 5-14 have the same proportion of caries to people aged +65. Anyway, there is a difference between these groups: elder people have finally lost their teeth due to their untreated tooth decays.
During this year’s caravan, we have carried out 3,500 treatments, most of them extractions and approximately the 10% were decays.
High percentage of new patients
The 78% of the patients we have seen during the campaign of 2016 came for the first time to us, while the 17% have previously been attended in the past. Only 5% of the people have come more than twice.
Due to the precarious economy and the precarious health and social assistance, a lot of patients visit us in a situation in which it is impossible to restore the damaged teeth so the only way to avoid pain and infections is the extraction.
Our goal is to regularly make interventions on the field by tracking the entire population. This follow-up will enable the patients who are kids and teenagers nowadays to have access to preventive treatments which will make more probable to better maintain their teeth when they get older.
In fact, more than half of the dental fillings in 2016’s campaign were made for adults aged 25-45 which could still preserve their damaged dental pieces. As of this age, it is difficult to recover the damaged teeth due to the rate of progression of decay pathologies, which in most of the cases had pulp tissue affection and extensive destruction of teeth structure.
However, the extractions analysis done by age groups shows the oral health situation is critic amongst kids and young people. 80% have suffered a tooth extraction and 40% have been forced to lost 2 or more teeth. All this corroborates the need of intensifying efforts to boost prevention campaigns such as we promote in the schools.
- The majority of 2016’s campaigns patients were new ones.
- Due to medical history, most of the interventions were extractions.
- Most of the restorative treatments were carried out to kids and young people.
- It could be interesting to preparer a tracking methodology for some patients for the next year.
- May it should be better to segment the assistance by age groups.
Goals to be developed
- Oral pathologies prevention by teaching kids good eating and hygiene habits with graphic material and hygiene toolkits.
- Educational training with qualified sanitary personnel in the action areas and to develop training programs in Spain for those involved with the project.
Would you like to know more? Here you have the history, the path, the future projects and the books that show the work of Smile is a Foundation.