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Dental outreach in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Henry Schein Dental UK supports M.E.R.G.E.D. (Michigan-Ethiopia Research, Growth, & Education in Dentistry) initiative to help strengthen Addis Ababa University (AAU) College of Dental Sciences’ didactic curriculum and patient care and formulate an efficient and effective oral health education programme.

The M.E.R.G.E.D. initiative is designed to be a long-term effort to improve the AAU College of Dental Sciences’ didactic curriculum, clinical care abilities, and research programmes. The continuing goals of this activity include basic science curriculum development, improved access to dental specialty training, and creation of a research database for Addis Ababa University to systematically document their research efforts. In addition, this initiative aims to create a sustainable collaboration with University of Michigan School of Dentistry to allow the AAU College of Dental Sciences to better serve their nation.

“Currently, around 100 million Ethiopians are served by less than 200 dentists. The lack of health professionals is evident and strengthening the ability of Addis Ababa University to educate students to become competent dental professionals will have a significant positive effect on the country’s population”, said Dr. David Brzezinski, DM, DDS, from the University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Anatomical Science. He leads the M.E.R.G.E.D. initiative and is supported by Dr. Diane Chang, DDS, Member of the Hospital Dentistry Department at the University of Michigan and by Sheri McCormack, student at University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

In spring 2017, a M.E.R.G.E.D. team will travel to Ethiopia to better assess the situation, aid in optimising clinical activity, and gain a better understanding of the schooling and clinical system. Furthermore, data about childhood caries rates in the surrounding community will be collected to help form a standardized database for further research to be done by the AAU. Last but not least, an effective annual oral health and hygiene instruction project for underserved communities and schools in the area of Addis Adeba is planned.

Dr. Wondwossen, Dean of Addis Ababa University College of Dental Sciences, said: “I am convinced that this collaboration will result in the overall improvement of the oral health of Ethiopia’s population through education, research and strengthening our clinical expertise and I am very grateful of the M.E.R.G.E.D. team of Michigan University. Also, thanks to Henry Schein’s generous product donation, we can ensure an oral health and hygiene promotion instruction for those in need.”

Henry Schein’s product donation is an initiative of Henry Schein Cares, the company’s global corporate social responsibility programme. Health care activities supported by Henry Schein Cares focus on three main areas: advancing wellness, building capacity in the delivery of health care services, and assisting in emergency preparedness and relief.

“By donating health care products to the M.E.R.G.E.D. initiative, we were able to increase access to oral care and to support dental professionals in the provision of urgently needed treatment and preventive care. This initiative also aims to improve the education of dental students In Ethiopia. So this programme is a perfect fit to Henry Schein Cares,” said Simon Gambold, Henry Schein’s Vice President European Dental Northern Region and Marketing European Dental Group.

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