Humanitarian aid and supporting the less fortunate
As we celebrate World Humanitarian Day 2019, we consider the need for aid in less fortunate communities. We also look at the many ways that dental practices can get involved both here in the UK and abroad.
There are many people in this world who depend on humanitarian support in their daily lives. In the UK, roughly 22% of households receive less than the average income.[i] In addition, around 7.8% of the UK population are living in persistent poverty.[ii] Those most affected are single parents and pensioners,[iii] highlighting the importance of additional support.
There is much evidence supporting a link between household income/poverty levels and oral health.[iv],[v] For example, a 2017 study found the North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber to have the highest levels of decay among 5-year-olds.[vi] The same report stated that children from deprived backgrounds had a much greater risk of decay than those from less deprived backgrounds. There may be several reasons for this, including lower quality education, less disposable income and reduced access to quality dental care.
What can you do?
What matters most, is that we strive to do something about it. This is a topic very close to our hearts at Rodericks. As such, we have often targeted regions of the UK in greatest need of quality dental care as we have grown. However, there are plenty of things you can do too.
It is crucial to raise awareness of the importance of oral health, especially in more deprived areas of the UK. Though many of the existing initiatives focus on children’s dental health, all the same concepts can be applied to adults. Good communication is essential, but so is access and affordability. It might be possible to organise a day of free check-ups for families in financial difficulty in your area. Alternatively, you could work with local organisations to provide oral health advice, for example, in schools, nurseries and youth groups.
Furthermore, don’t forget that fellow dental professionals may face times of need as well. Anyone who can’t work due to illness or injury may need a helping hand. As a result, there are charities dedicated to providing this aid who would value your support.
Organisations are also helping communities in need further afield.
Almost 2 billion people live in poverty worldwide (with less than $3.20 per day). 753 million of these live in extreme poverty (with less than $1.90 per day). Around 201 million people from 134 different countries needed humanitarian aid in 2017, because of conflict, unrest, natural disasters and forced displacement.[vii] For anyone impacted, the support they receive through charities can be life-changing. Consequently, you can make a difference by joining one of the existing schemes that provide essential dental and health support. It is also such rewarding work, whether you’re participating for the first or tenth time.
And now you have the perfect reason to get involved. World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19th August. It provides a chance to recognise those people who selflessly provide or support humanitarian aid across the globe.
For 2019, WHD is honouring the humanitarian work of women around the world. It is recognising unsung female heroes, who work tirelessly to help those in need. Show your support for them by doing your own humanitarian work, however big or small.
[i] Gov.uk. National Statistics. Households below average income” 1994/95 to 2017/18. March 2019. [Accessed July 2019]
[ii] Office for National Statistics. People, populations and community, Personal and household finances. Income and wealth. Persistent poverty in the UK and EU: 2017. [Accessed July 2019]
[iv] Call RL. Effects of poverty on children’s dental health. Pediatrician. 1989;16(3-4):200-6.
[v] Nuffield Trust. Analysis. Root causes: Quality and inequality in dental health. November 2017. [Accessed July 2019]
[vi] Public Health England. Oral health survey of five-year-old children 2017. https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/31603/1/Oral_health_survey_5yr_2017_report.pdf [Accessed July 2019]
[vii] Global Humanitarian Assistances Report 2018. http://devinit.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/GHA-Report-2018.pdf [Accessed July 2019]