Groundbreaking program brings change to Rwandan dentistry

8 January 2019

An innovative initiative, the Rwanda Human Resources for Health (HRH) Program, has been developed which aims to bring change to medical education in the southern African nation as well as improving the delivery of healthcare services. 

Importantly, the program includes a dental component, something which Jane Barrow, MS from the Harvard School of Medicine, one of the program’s partners, stresses is vital for the overall health of Rwandans. 

"Given the connection of oral health to overall health, the rise of noncommunicable diseases, and the potential for preventive care to mitigate disease, it was critical that dentistry be included in the program." 

One of the practical outworkings of the program has been the graduation of 10 bachelor of dental surgery degree students, a critically-important milestone in a country where fewer than 40 registered dentists are expected to dental care to more than 12 million people. 

Arm in arm with the training of new practising clinicians, who came to be known as “The Pioneerz”, the team behind the program conducted the country’s first oral health survey which revealed a great need for access to dental care, especially in areas outside of Rwanda’s towns and cities. 

Hence, as Julienne Murererehe, assistant lecturer at the University of Rwanda, observed, “Graduation is a very big achievement not only for the students and faculty, but for the whole country. It’s important for the development of oral health services in Rwanda.”  

For more on this story, go to “University of Rwanda Graduates First Dental Class” (Dentistry Today)