A surgeon from Smile 4 Ghana working on a patient
A surgeon from Smile 4 Ghana working on a patient
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Free dental screening for North Tongu flood victims

The Volta River Authority (VRA), as part of follow-up activities for the support and welfare of the flood victims in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region, has collaborated with Smile 4 Ghana, a charitable non-governmental organisation (NGO), to offer free dental health screening for the flood victims. 

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The three-day free dental health screening with three dental surgeons from Smile 4 Ghana and one from VRA covered 1,010 victims mostly adults and children in many towns and villages in the North Tongu District, including Mepe, Mepe-Degorme, Mepe-Tedzikope, Battor, Battor-Dugame, Battoor Abilordzor, Aveyime, Aveyime Ananekope, Ayibor Manya Vortuamekope, Manya Losukope, Sikor Agbetikpo and Blabotikope, among others.

Needed services

The Medical Director of VRA Hospitals, Dr Kwabena Omari Yeboah, who led the team for the three days programme, said the VRA, as an authority, was ensuring that it provided the needed services to the affected people ever since the flood displaced the affected communities; hence, the dental services rendered, especially in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region.

“As you are aware, the worst affected areas were in the North Tongu District and interestingly, North Tongu District does not have even a dentist and that prompted VRA to team up with Smile 4 Ghana for this very important programme. This is a continuation of what we, as an authority, started last year during the period of the floods,” Dr Yeboah stressed.

He said last year, VRA provided shelter, food and also welfare services for the people affected by the flood and even though the floods had receded and most people had gone back to their various homes, the authority saw it as a responsibility to offer more healthcare services to them to ensure that they were totally fit to continue with their normal economic activities.

Dr Yeboah said their partners in the programme, Smile 4 Ghana, who were from the United Kingdom (UK) provided their own plane tickets and the equipment, while VRA provided welfare services, feeding, accommodation and all other necessary items for the three-day programme, adding: “It is worthwhile organising this dental programme for the affected flood victims considering the fantastic numbers we had”.

He said the four dentists could definitely not take care of all the cases that were treated and, therefore, gave an assurance that those with serious cases that needed referrals would be taken care of by the VRA Hospital after the exercise.

He also assured that the authority was still working with the district assemblies that were affected and would continue to support them by providing them with the needed care.

Oral health education 

The Trustee for Smile 4 Ghana, who is also a dental surgeon and the leader of the team from the UK, Dr George Brown, said with less than 800 dental surgeons in the country as against over 31 million population, the situation was worrying and needed to be changed and that he said necessitated teaming up with VRA for the programme which would not be a nine-day wonder.

He said the team treated various dental conditions, including decayed teeth, retained roots and gum diseases. He stressed the need for the Ghana Health Service to train health workers who would go into the communities to educate them on oral health and oral hygiene.

The Acting Medical Director of the Battor Catholic Hospital, the only main hospital in the district, Dr Felicia Akuribire, lamented the need for at least a dentist in the hospital, for that matter the district, for dental screening, adding: “There is a big need for a dentist in the district”.    

The Assemblyman for Tekpo — Manya Electoral Area in the North Tongu District, Stephen Amegavi, who spoke to the Daily Graphic after the programme, lauded the VRA and its partners for what he described as an educative health programme that would address their dental health challenges in the district. 

According to Mr Amegavi, many people did not know that they had serious health challenges in dental health until the free screening exercise and appealed to the VRA to make it an annual affair to give them more education on oral health.

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