Jonmoore International (JMI) has partnered with Smile Ghana – a dental charity organisation registered in the United Kingdom – for a week-long programme of dental screenings and treatments in three communities of the Volta Region.
From the 23rd – 30th of April 2019, residents of Peki Blengo, Adaklu Hasu, Adidome and its surrounding townships benefitted from the corporate social responsibility initiative of the two institutions.
Hundreds of beneficiaries, both young and old, after receiving a general health briefing by the dental team received basic health checks – such as taking their blood pressure levels and ascertaining their respective peculiar health status prior to being addressed by the specialist dentists. The residents with various levels of dental problems received free dental screening, immediate necessary treatment, and advice on the need to practice good oral hygiene.
The dental outreach is a joint initiative by three dental trainers and specialists based in the UK and their spouses. They are Dr. George and Mrs. Phil Brown; Dr. Malcom Farr and Mrs. Cynthia Kudzi-Farr; and Dr. Chris Vondee and Mrs. Pat Vondee.
The team was supported by Ms. Zaneta Arthur, a volunteer UK-trained dental nurse and health care services manager; Mr. Douglas McAddy, a dental nurse with Knight Smile Dental Centre; and a group of community health officers and dental surgery assistants from various district hospitals in the communities that benefitted from the dental outreach.
As part of Jonmoore’s corporate social responsibility, which has health and well-being as one of its prime objectives, the initiative by Smile Ghana shared relevance with its objective – hence the partnership to bring needed social impacts to the respective communities the team toured.
The Managing Director and CEO of Jonmoore International, Hilton John Mitchell, met with the team at Adidome.
Speaking to the B&FT, Mr. Mitchell stated that the exercise was the company’s small way of impacting the lives of people across the country, particularly in the areas of health and education.
He said: “As a company, we are very passionate about health and education as our key areas for corporate social responsibility, and that is what we are doing in our own small way.
“For us, we make sure our CSR cuts across the country and is not limited to only where the company operates.”
Mr. Mitchell added: “We believe that if we can reach out to someone somewhere that is farther than where we operate to impact their lives, we would and that is what we are seeking to achieve through this initiative. In the years ahead, we are going to focus on the two areas that are passionate to us, which are education and health.”
Founder of Knight Smile Dental Centre based in Osu, Accra, Dr. George Brown, and the leader of Smile Ghana indicated most of the diseases that were treated over the six-day exercise were preventable, and called for increased public health education, especially for would-be mothers, on oral care and hygiene.
He said: “There is a big gap in educating would-be mothers about the care of children and how they keep them from the period of breast-feeding up to weaning.
“Most of the diseases we have treated here are preventable and if we can integrate oral health education in local health centres and antenatal clinics specifically about high sugar diets, we will eliminate most them.”
In the absence of a sufficient dentist to patient ratio in the country, Dr. Brown suggested the formation of oral health clubs and deployment of health professionals to various communities to educate people on good oral health practices.
He added: “It is also an element of ignorance; we need oral health clubs, just as we have keep-fit clubs in schools and communities that will sensitise people about the care of their teeth”.
Principal Dentist, Clinical Director for Perry Vale Dental Limited and a member of the dental team, Dr. Chris Vondee, expressed concern about how people with oral problems tend to rely on fake medicine peddlers in attempts to practice self-care instead of visiting a clinic or dentist for proper treatment.
“I have observed that people spend money trying to treat themselves at home, but I advise that they should visit the dentist—who will be able to treat or advise them appropriately.
“They should be wary of quack doctors who will take advantage of the absence of qualified dentists in such remote parts of the country to rip-off the people,” he said.
Dr. Vondee further indicated that there is an identifiable need and gap in the market that fake medicine sellers are taking advantage of, and called for increased education on oral hygiene, especially, in remote communities.
“It should be a regulatory matter, but it also has to do with the availability of resources. Within this mix, there is a need to train people who can raise awareness so others will be better advised about where to seek help with their oral health instead of relying on medicine sellers.”
He also called on the media to help propagate the message of good oral care by portraying issues on the ground to the masses.
Another member of the team, Dr. Malcom Farr, advised Ghanaians to inculcate the habit of cleaning their teeth and reducing the intake of sweet diets.
“Mothers should ensure proper oral hygiene for their children by reducing their intake of sweets and other refined carbohydrates and sugars.”
He said: “I recommend basic cleaning of the teeth and regular visits to a dentist—at least once in a year. Also, the use of chewing-sticks will help to maintain the teeth and reduce gum diseases”.
The member of Parliament for South Dayi district, Nelson Rockson Dafeamekpor, in an interview with B&FT at the Peki-Blengo outreach expressed gratitude to the medical team and Jonmoore for the gesture, which he said will help to improve the wellbeing of people in the area.
“This is a very good gesture, and we are very happy to have them here as a district and as a people. This is a way of helping to improve the wellbeing of residents in the area,” he said.
He added: “Apart from the district hospital that is serving all purposes, we only have health posts and CHPS compounds which handle minor ailments; and therefore we can only fall on the benevolence of corporate institutions, NGOs and specialist practitioners to help close the healthcare service delivery gap in the district”.
Miss Amma Abrokwah, the Corporate Manager of Jonmoore, indicated that the company’s corporate social responsibility focuses on a continuing commitment to contribute in socio-economic development and improving the quality of life for the local community and society at large in an ethical manner. Education and mentoring, wellbeing and health as well as infrastructure development are the company’s key CSR scope.
Jonmoore International’s services cover a spectrum of transport, logistics and freight-forwarding, including the movement of heavy-duty and over-dimensional cargo, standard cargo movement, containers, break-bulk cargo, and small priority shuttle services.
The company is also involved in global freight-forwarding, port and Customs clearance, transit clearance and documentation as well as craneage, forklift and heavy lift services.