Against the background of the need to instill a culture of good oral health practices in Jamaica’s children, the Southern Regional Health Authority’s (SRHA) Dental Auxiliaries have been promoting good oral and dental health education in schools across the region, which culminated with an Oral Health Competition and Awards ceremony recently.
The Competition which was staged by the Clarendon Health Department under the theme, “Oral Health Matters”, was used to evaluate primary and secondary students from some 20 schools through quiz, poster and deejay/rap competitions.
Oral Health Month is celebrated in October; however the SRHA Dental Auxiliaries hosted several activities which kick-started on Monday, October 24 and culminated with the competition on Thursday, October 27 at the St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church Hall in Clarendon.
Regional Director of the SRHA, Mr. Michael Bent in supporting the initiatives noted that it is very important to change the culture of oral health in Jamaica as research has proven that many risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases or lifestyle diseases are linked to the development of oral and dental health problems.
He encouraged the dental surgeons, dental nurses, dental hygienists, dental assistants and dental aides to continue being efficient and proactive in making Jamaica a healthier nation.
Turning to the importance of oral health, Medical Officer of Health for Clarendon, Dr. Kimberly Scarlett Campbell said oral health is very important to one’s general health and is also useful in “diagnosing diseases, improving maternal and child health outcomes and also improving self esteem.” She encouraged teachers and parents to support the students in improving their oral health.
The competition, which is an annual event, saw Denbigh Primary School copping the first prize in the Quiz Competition and also in the Poster Competition for the 6-8 category. Other winners included Treadlight Primary School in the 9-11 category, Thompson Town Primary School in the 12- 15 category and Lennon High School in the 16 and over section.
The deejay/rap competition which was one of the day’s highlights saw winners from the Thompson Town Primary School in the 6-8 category and Race Course Primary School in the 9-11 category. For the 12-15 category, Mocho Primary School was declared the winner while Vere Technical High School was awarded first prize for the 16 and over category.