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South African Journal of Child Health

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The promotion of oral health in health-promoting schools in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa

M Reddy, S Singh

Abstract


Background. Oral health promotion is a cost-effective strategy that can be implemented at schools for the prevention of oral diseases. The importance and value of school-based interventions in children has been identified in South Africa (SA). Although oral health strategies include integrated school-based interventions, there is a lack of published evidence on whether these strategies have been translated into practice and whether these programmes have been evaluated.

Objective. To assess the efficiency and sustainability of the toothbrushing programme implemented at health-promoting schools in KwaZulu-Natal Province, SA.

Methods. A mixed-methods approach was used for this study, conducted at 23 health-promoting schools in KwaZulu-Natal using focus group discussions. Triangulation was used for evaluation.

Results. The intervention implemented had created awareness of oral health for learners, educators and parents. Findings in this study indicate that although there were benefits obtained from this school-based intervention, many challenges, such as time constraints, large classes and a lack of adequate resources and funding, affected the sustainability of the programme.

Conclusion. The school setting has the potential to deliver integrated preventive and promotive programmes provided they are supported by adequate funding and resources.




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