According to statistics, Romanian people change their toothbrush every three years and use 125 ml of toothpaste a year and 80% of them have oral health problems. The situation is far worse for those with lesser means that can barely afford to buy food and other bare necessities.
Improving the state of health for disadvantaged groups is one of United Way Romania’s goals. Therefore, we partnered with two multinational companies: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Wrigley Romania, national authorities, NGOs and United Way Romania agencies for developing a national program aimed at preventing oral health problems through education and access to services for the most vulnerable groups: children from disadvantaged families and young mothers.
This national information campaign consisted of distributing oral health kits, free oral health services (for a limited time) and opening oral healthcare centers called “Smile Centers” so that the most vulnerable citizens have access to education, services and products. All healthcare centers were in daycare centers, shelters and schools so that the most at risk categories (children from disadvantaged families, young mothers and pregnant women) could receive information, leaflets, free oral health services, a dental care kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss).
The project was promoted on media channels, on a website, Facebook and a dedicated Smartphone application. Public fundraising activities (charity auction and a text message donation) raised more money to support oral health treatments for children and young mothers.
A major health magazine rewarded the project as the most efficient healthcare and prevention initiative in 2012. Thanks to the partnership it established between important social actors and to the large geographical area covered, the program was selected out of more than 200 applications to be presented to the SLC Conference in Indianapolis.