Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia

by Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR)
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Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia
Dental Care for 235 orphans in Armenia

The Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) provides humanitarian relief to orphaned Armenian children and adults with disabilities throughout the world. Working with a trusted network of in-country staff and a cadre of global volunteers, SOAR provides this institutionalized population with the same educational and social opportunities as their non-institutionalized counterparts while simultaneously facilitating family empowerment, deinstitutionalization, and reunification.

The Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) Dental Clinic (Gyumri, Armenia) provides free dental services to orphaned and otherwise institutuonalized children and to the elderly in Gyumri. Since its inception, the Clinic has provided gfree dental services to hundred of children and senior citizens in Gyumri, Armenia.

The Dental Clinic was closed in Armenia because of COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. No services have been provided since the middle of March 2020. Our hope is to reopen the clinic as soon as possible, but Armenia is still in lockdown. We anticipate reopening by September 2020.

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Cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease among children in Armenia. The impact of the disease is reflected throughout life and affects health, employment, and quality of life. Cavities usually require intervention by health personnel to correct the resulting problems. These resources can be expensive, are subject to limited availability, and carry a significant cost to any health system. Studies have shown that:
• The average 5-year old child in Armenia has eight decayed, missing or filled primary teeth;
• Between the ages of 14 and 17 years old, the average child continues to experience dental decay at the rate of one permanent tooth per year;
• Almost 90% of all 12-year-old children have cavities; and,
• Only 20% of Armenian 18-year-olds still have all of their teeth.

To address dental hygiene issues among the orphaned children in Armenia, SOAR's Dental Clinic was established to provide free dental services to all institutionalized childre in Gyumri.  In January 2020, 38 children were serviced at the clinic, including basic cleanings and several extractions. 

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Cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease among children in Armenia. Empirical studies have documented that: 1) the average 5-year old child in Armenia has eight decayed, missing or filled primary teeth; 2) between the ages of 14 and 17 years old, the average child continues to experience dental decay at the rate of one permanent tooth per year; 3) almost 90% of all 12-year-old children in Armenia have cavities; and, 4) only 20% of Armenian 18-year-olds still have all of their teeth. Unquestionably, dental hygiene problems are more problematic among institutionalized children.

To address these dental issues, SOAR’s Dental Fund was created in September 2015 and is overseen by a team of dental experts.  The Fund has three primary components:

1. Dental clinic construction. SOAR constructs and outfits dental suites and clinics to offer the orphaned children in Armenia consistent and quality access to dental care. A dental suite was renovated at Kharberd Orphanage and a dental clinic was constructed at the Our Lady of Armenia (OLA) Center in Gyumri. The Gyumri Clinic provides free dental services to the elderly and all orphaned children free of charge.

2. Recruiting dental professionals to volunteer at the OLA Summer Camp. The OLA Camp is held in Tsaghgadzor annually for approximately 12 weeks. During each of four (4) 16-day sessions, approximately 200 orphaned and otherwise underprivileged children visit the Camp. Overseen by SOAR-Detroit, we actively seek dentists and dental assistants who are able to volunteer for at least one week each summer.

3. Procure dental supplies. Our Dental Fund experts identify outlets for humanitarian donations of dental supplies. When appropriate, these goods are procured and shipped to Armenia.

Between September and November 2019, SOAR's Dental Clinic in Gyumri provided services to 202 children from Gyumri Social Childcare Center, Little Prince, the Our Lady of Armenia Center, Orphanage of Fridtjof Nansen, and the greater Gyumri community. A relative even distribution of patients by gender was appreciated. Most of the children were seen for basic treatments (cleanings), although there were also several extractions.

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Cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease among children in Armenia. Empirical studies have documented that: 1) the average 5-year old child in Armenia has eight decayed, missing or filled primary teeth; 2) between the ages of 14 and 17 years old, the average child continues to experience dental decay at the rate of one permanent tooth per year; 3) almost 90% of all 12-year-old children in Armenia have cavities; and, 4) only 20% of Armenian 18-year-olds still have all of their teeth. Unquestionably, dental hygiene problems are more problematic among institutionalized children. To address these dental issues, SOAR’s Dental Fund was created in September 2015 and is overseen by a team of dental experts.

Forty-nine (49) children were seen at the Dental Clinic in July 2019 (the Clinic closes in August). The children came from the greater Gyumri community and from the following institutions: Gyumri Social Childcare Center, Nansen Orphanage, and Our Lady of Armenia Center. With the exception of three (3) extractions, all of the children had regular cleanings. 

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Quarterly report – 2Q2019

  • The dental clinic, located in the grounds of the Our Lady of Armenia Center (Gyumri, Armenia) and managed by three full-time staff, served 213 visitors in March, April and May 2019: Ninety-four (94) patients in March, seventy (70) patients in April, and forty-nine patients (49) in May.
  • Services have been provided to beneficiary children from different care centers and boarding institutions of the region, including Gyumri Social Childcare Center, Orphanage of Fridtjof Nansen, the Our Lady of Armenia Center, and Terchoonian Home, as well to many community children.
  • Children have been provided with hygienic supplies (as needed), toothpaste and brushes. Consultation on improvement of oral cavity was held.

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Organization Information

Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR)

Location: Radnor, PA - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
George Yacoubian
Radnor, PA United States

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