This project will provide dental and health screenings, supplies and health education for 500 indigenous Mayan school children in Guatemala. The team will screen for dental cavities and anemia, monitor growth over time and provide preventive care, such as fluoride varnish and daily vitamins. These measures enhanced with health education each week by a community health educator will empower children to become healthier, allowing them to attend school.
Oral health has been designated one of the most important global health issues by the WHO due to the profound effect poor oral health can have on general health. In addition to a high rate of dental disease, this isolated indigenous community has a low rate of literacy, high rate of poverty and a lack of health infrastructure. A lack of preventive healthcare has outcomes of growth stunting, malnutrition and chronic disease into adulthood. This project will affect over 500 school children.
Each child will receive a screening physical exam including measurements of growth, dental and hemoglobin screening as well as a dose of anti-parasite medication. In addition, all children will receive a daily multivitamin, fluoride varnish application and a toothbrush, toothpaste and bar of soap. A local health educator was trained and will visit the schools and provide health education activities to the children throughout the school year.
This project will enhance the population health of this community by decreasing the rate of diarrheal illness, anemia and dental caries. In addition, this project will provide the support to educate the children and teachers about hygiene, oral health and nutrition which has the potential for long term health improvements in this community through increased access to education, employment and long term wellness.