Tan­za­nia to get tooth­paste fac­tory

East African Business Week - - FEATURE - TI­MOTHY KITUNDU

DAR ES SALAAM, TAN­ZA­NIA— Chemi Co­tex is set­ting up op­er­a­tions in Tan­za­nia to make tooth­paste and help im­prove oral health in the country.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), den­tal caries and pe­ri­odon­tal diseases have his­tor­i­cally been con­sid­ered the most im­por­tant global oral health bur­dens. At present, the dis­tri­bu­tion and sever­ity of oral diseases vary among dif­fer­ent parts of the world and within the same country or re­gion.

“Den­tal caries is still a ma­jor oral health prob­lem in most in­dus­tri­al­ized coun­tries, af­fect­ing 60-90% of school­child­ren and the vast ma­jor­ity of adults. It is also a most preva­lent oral dis­ease in sev­eral Asian and Latin-amer­i­can coun­tries, while it ap­pears to be less com­mon and less se­vere in most African coun­tries,” the WHO says.

Chronic diseases and in­juries are the lead­ing health prob­lems in all but a few parts of the world.

The rapidly chang­ing dis­ease pat­terns through­out the world are closely linked to chang­ing life­styles, which in­clude di­ets rich in sug­ars, wide­spread use of to­bacco, and in­creased con­sump­tion of al­co­hol.

Oral diseases qual­ify as ma­jor pub­lic health prob­lems ow­ing to their high preva­lence and in­ci­dence in all re­gions of the world, and as for all diseases, the great­est bur­den of oral diseases is on dis­ad­van­taged and socially marginal­ized pop­u­la­tions.

Chemi­co­tex s largest and best­known brand is Whit­e­dent tooth­paste, which is used by more than 20 mil­lion Tan­za­ni­ans ev­ery day

Chemi­co­tex s largest and best-known brand is Whit­e­dent tooth­paste, which is used by more than 20 mil­lion Tan­za­ni­ans ev­ery day.

The Whit­e­dent brand, which is cur­rently cel­e­brat­ing its 25th year, is the clear mar­ket leader in Tan­za­nia and is also avail­able in Rwanda, Kenya, Zam­bia, Malawi and South Africa.

Be­yond pro­duc­ing tooth­paste for sale, Whit­e­dent man­age­ment has in­vested heav­ily in oral health pro­mo­tion in Tan­za­nia as part of the com­pany’s Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Some of the ac­tiv­i­ties un­der this in­clude set­ting up spe­cial oral health camps in schools and spe­cial needs cen­ters where spe­cial­ists give free med­i­cal care and ad­vice to the com­mu­nity on oral care best prac­tices.

On World Oral Health week this year, for ex­am­ple, Whit­e­dent con­ducted var­i­ous oral health com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties in var­i­ous schools in Dar es Salaam, Moro­goro, Shinyanga, Mbeya and Iringa.

Dur­ing the week, oral health pro­fes­sion­als pro­vided oral health ed­u­ca­tion, screened oral cav­i­ties and demon­strated tooth brush­ing to more than 2,000 chil­dren. These chil­dren were mostly those with spe­cial needs; chil­dren with al­binism, or­phans, the blind and those with hear- ing, phys­i­cal and men­tal im­pair­ment.

At these schools oral health ed­u­ca­tion was not only pro­vided to the chil­dren but also to their guardians and teach­ers with the ob­jec­tive that they as­sist these chil­dren with their oral hy­giene prac­tices.

“Oral dis­ease, in­fec­tion and chronic pain des­per­ately need to be ad­dressed in these com­mu­ni­ties to en­able peo­ple to work, at­tend school and care for their fam­i­lies,” com­ments Raja Swami­nathan, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer of Chemi Co­tex.

In Moro­goro re­gion alone a to­tal of 281 peo­ple were screened. Screen­ing in­volved three pri­mary schools (Ma­gadu, Chamwino A and Chamwino B Pri­mary schools) and two cen­ters (MEHAYO cen­tre for men­tally hand­i­capped chil­dren and Mgolole sis­ter’s Or­phan­age Cen­ter).

Among the 281 chil­dren screened, a to­tal of 174, al­most 62% were di­ag­nosed with sev­eral oral health prob­lems such as den­tal caries, pe­ri­odon­tal diseases, mal­oc­clu­sion, shed­ding of de­cid­u­ous teeth and plaque. About 37% of the chil­dren had den­tal caries, 17.8% had gum or pe­ri­odon­tal diseases and 7.1% had other den­tal diseases.

Tooth de­cay is the most com­mon chronic dis­ease among chil­dren es­pe­cially in low-in­come, minority, and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. The ef­forts be­ing made by the gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor like Chemi Co­tex to bridge the un­met gap is cru­cial in shift­ing the tide. How­ever, to the de­sired dif­fer­ence, more ef­fort is needed and more par­tic­i­pa­tion re­quired mak­ing sure oral health a pri­or­ity in our country.

Whit­e­dent cel­e­brates 25 years of ser­vice in Tan­za­nia this year and is proud that through its con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity, over a mil­lion chil­dren have re­ceived oral ed­u­ca­tion and treat­ment.

Whit­e­dent con­tin­ues to be a lead­ing oral care brand in East Africa. In its home mar­ket, Tan­za­nia, it is the mar­ket leader for over fif­teen years in the Tooth­paste seg­ment. The brand is driven by a bas­ket of vari­ants cater­ing to spe­cific seg­ments with fo­cus on qual­ity, avail­abil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity.

OPEN: The Tan­za­nia Doc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion to­gether with Whit­e­dent held a den­tal clinic for spe­cial needs chil­dren at Buhangija in Shinyanga.

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