Smileawi joins Glasgow and Dundee dental students for oral health survey training

There is a paucity of data on the epidemiology of oral disease in children in Malawi, and one of the elements of the MalDent Project will be to undertake a national child oral health survey. In the interim, Nigel and Vicky Milne had approached Glasgow Dental School to enquire whether we had any students who may be interested in working with Smileawi on an elective project to undertake a pilot child oral health survey in Northern Malawi, within the areas in which they now have many contacts.

In an earlier blog post we reported on the interest that was aroused at the Dental School Electives Evening last Autumn, when Nigel presented about Smileawi’s work. As a result, four Glasgow BDS 4 students and one student from Dundee Dental School will be collaborating with Smileawi on a child oral health survey in June. Two other Glasgow BDS 4 students who will be visiting the University of Malawi College of Medicine in June will also spend some time with the Smileawi team.

Profs Lorna Macpherson and David Conway are leading on the training and preparation of the paperwork and database. On Friday 22 March they delivered an excellent planning session and provided training based upon the Scottish National Dental Inspection Programme protocol.

Profs David Conway and Lorna Macpherson prepare to get the afternoon underway

Introductions were made and it was good to see the Smileawi team, University of Glasgow staff and students and a student from Dundee Dental School interacting in such a positive way.

Nigel and Vicky Milne introduce themselves and Smileawi to the group

It was a return to the classroom in their alma mater for Nigel and Vicky, who were clearly enjoying themselves greatly:


It was an intense afternoon of work, but everyone was still smiling by the end of it:

What a team – partnership in action!

There was plenty of on-line homework set for the participants to complete ahead of the next meeting. Next time there will a trial run of the standardised caries detection and charting skills learned on-line at home, in conjunction with testing out the paperwork which will be completed in the field, together with the bespoke database that is under construction for data entry. The project is coming alive!


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