Online Program

Oral health needs assessment in rural El Salvador

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jennifer Kasper, MD, MPH, Division of Global Health, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, MA
Nicole Oparaeke, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA
Etelvina Umana, Asociacion Campesina para el Desarrollo Humano, Morazan, El Salvador
Abraham Perez, Asociacion Campesina para el Desarrollo Humano, Morazan, El Salvador
Juan Carlos Martinez, Asociacion Campesina para el Desarrollo Humano, Morazan, El Salvador
El Salvador has 3 times higher rate of oral disease, 4 times higher rate of edentulism, and 25% number of dentistry personnel as United States. Even greater disparities exist in rural, isolated areas such as Estancia in northeastern El Salvador. The local NGO, Asociacion Campesina para el Desarrollo Humano (Peasant Association for Human Development, CDH), founded in 2004, works to alleviate health disparities for approximately 2500 impoverished people through education, prevention, and primary health care. The NGO Doctors for Global Health has been accompanying Estancia and CDH since 1992. Through community participatory approach, we interviewed 396 people; participants had average age of 39 years and 74% were female. Basic demographics included the following: nearly half of participants were illiterate; average household size 6; 84% of houses have dirt floor; 60% of families obtain water from a well, while 39% obtain it from the river; and 57% sometimes or never treat the water. Oral health data included the following: self-report of health of teeth and gums (excellent 2.5%, good 18%, average 22%, bad 24%, no teeth 33%); caregiver report of health of child's teeth and gums (excellent 14%, good 28%, average 15%, bad 14%); 35% of participants cited cost as main reason for lack of access to dental care; 22% of participants report that their child does not have a toothbrush. These data will be used to collaborate with another Salvadoran NGO and Ministry of Health to create innovative educational, preventive and primary oral health care interventions in this underserved population.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the oral health needs of a rural, isolated population of adults and children in El Salvador. Compare these oral health needs with El Salvador national data. Discuss a collaboration among NGOs and the Salvadoran Ministry of Health to institute educational, public health and primary oral health care interventions to respond to these needs and disparities.

Keyword(s): Oral Health Needs, Rural Communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in El Salvador since 1996 and have extensive expertise in conducting needs assessments and implementing education, public health, and primary care programs in rural, isolated, under-served communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.