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ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 241

Brighter Smiles Africa - Translation of a Canadian Community-based Health-promoting School Program to Uganda


1 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Wallenberg Research Centre,Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
2 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
3 Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Wallenberg Research Centre,Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
4 Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Correspondence Address:
A J Macnab
4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3V4, Canada

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 20853235

Project goal: To adapt a successful Canadian health-promoting school initiative to a Ugandan context through international partnership. Rationale: Rural children face many health challenges worldwide; health professionals in training understand these better through community-based learning. Aboriginal leaders in a Canadian First-Nations community identified poor oral health as a child health issue with major long-term societal impact and intervened successfully with university partners through a school-based program called "Brighter Smiles". Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (MUK) sought to implement this delivery model for both the benefit of communities and the dental students. Key steps/hurdles addressed: MUK identified rural communities where hospitals could provide dental students with community based learning and recruited four local schools. A joint Ugandan and Canadian team of both trainees and faculty planned the program, obtained ethics consent and baseline data, initiated the Brighter Smiles intervention model (daily at-school tooth-brushing; in-class education), and recruited a cohort to receive additional bi-annual topical fluoride. Hurdles included: challenging international communication and planning due to inconsistent internet connections; discrepancies between Canadian and developing world concepts of research ethics and informed consent; complex dynamics for community engagement and steep learning curve for accurate data collection; an itinerant population at one school; and difficulties coordinating Canadian and Ugandan university schedules. Accomplishments: Four health-promoting schools were established; teachers, children, and families were engaged in the initiative; community-based learning was adopted for the university students; quarterly team education/evaluation/service delivery visits to schools were initiated; oral health improved, and new knowledge and practices were evident; an effective international partnership was formed providing global health education, research and health care delivery.


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