The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has revealed that the mouth is the gateway to the body since it serves as a useful tool in detecting early signs and symptoms of endemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, measles, syphilis and diabetes.
He made this known at a press briefing to commemorate the 6th Edition of the National Oral Health Week, held at the Conference Room of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja.
According to him, “Oral health is essentially an integral part of overall health. An unhealthy mouth according to researchers may reveal medical complications like increased risk of heart attach, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus and preterm labour, pain, discomfort and anxiety.”
Prof Adewole stressed that oral health diseases affect the overall productivity of an individual and the society at large if not addressed.
The Minister, who was represented at the occasion by the Director, Public Services, Dr. Balami Wapada said the Ministry will flag off training of community health extension workers, junior community health extension workers and other health workers at the primary healthcare level in the North-West and South-South geopolitical zones to enable them identify and manage common oral conditions.
According to him, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is carrying out oral health surveys to determine the number of PHC equipped with oral health facilities and the personnel nationwide.
The Minister said, the ministry has signed a MoU to reach out to 10 million Nigerian school children. “In the last 12 months we have successfully reached out to over 400 schools and 2 million school children in Lagos, Abia, Rivers, FCT and Delta states.
“During this period, we trained school teachers, the Pepsodent Brush/Day, the Night School Children campaigns, free distribution of Pepsodent, free distribution of Pepsodent toothpaste and Close-up toothbrushes to the school children.”
Meanwhile, the Unilever Regional Sales Manager, Middle Belt, Mr. David Ebah, said the company is determined to reach 100 million people by the year 2020.
According to him, 2,000 teachers were trained in oral health while 3.5 million have undergone educational training on oral health.