Investing in the health of children is an important way to influence the future health of a community. Many of the health issues treated in the Family Care Centre clinic are preventable conditions. However, due to a lack of awareness and unhealthy lifestyle choices, many non-communicable diseases are on the rise in Vanuatu. One of the ways the Family Care Centre is partnering with the Ministry of Health of Vanuatu to combat this is through health education in schools.

Recently, the clinic team visited Green Hill School, a kindergarten and primary school located in the bush just 10km from the clinic, to give oral health education and conduct health screenings.

Seventy students packed closely together in one of the classrooms as Rose, Madeline, and Mary, the clinic interns, taught them about how to look after their teeth. The session covered why oral health is important, what damages teeth, and how to keep teeth healthy. At the end of the session, Madeline conducted an activity requiring students to come forward to match different foods with either a healthy tooth or an unhealthy tooth. Though a little shy, several of the students came forward and were able to match the foods correctly.

Following the teaching session, the clinic team divided out into screening stations. Class by class, each student had their height and weight measured, their teeth checked, and their skin checked for scabies, YAWS, and other skin infections. Students with significant dental issues were added to a list for priority space in the dental clinic, while students with sores were directed to a classroom set up for wound care and testing for YAWS. After passing through each of the stations, each student was given an Albendazole tablet for deworming and a toothbrush with a reminder on how to brush his/her teeth. This was another successful visit to Green Hill School, as we continue to invest in the future health of our local community.