THE Ministry of Health is conducting public awareness campaigns to ensure Basotho understand the importance of oral health in preventing non-communicable diseases such as tooth decay and oral cancers.
The ministry recently conducted oral health awareness campaigns in Mohale’s Hoek and Butha-Buthe among other districts.
The Ministry of Health’s Director for Oral Health Services, Lieketseng Petlane, recently told the Lesotho Times that they were focusing on educating the public about oral and other non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, throat and lung cancer and malnutrition.
“The reason we decided to focus on oral and non-communicable diseases is that they share common causative factors for example, smoking affects the teeth and also causes cancer,” Dr Petlane said.
“So, we made the public aware of the things they should avoid as a way of preventing the diseases. Our data shows that diseases such as cancer are caused by smoking while the abuse of alcohol causes teeth infections.
“During the campaigns our main focus is to speak about the prevention of these diseases and also provide free screening for them so that those who need medical attention can be referred to hospitals,” Dr Petlane said.
In a related development, the Butha-Buthe District Health Management Team is also conducting oral health talks this week as well as medical screenings on blood pressure, diabetes and dental examinations.
The district’s Dental Therapist, Peter Dziva, said the activities were being conducted as part of the Oral Health Awareness campaign whose theme was ‘Oral Health and Non-communicable Diseases’.
Dr Dziva said the theme was chosen upon the realisation that there was a high level of association between oral conditions and non-communicable diseases.
He said they would distribute toothbrushes and toothpastes to community members who had been examined as part of the district’s efforts of increasing awareness on the importance of maintaining oral hygiene and health.