A Toothbrush of Their Own: Improving Child Health in Haiti

"Out of all that we did, the children seemed most excited to receive their very own toothbrush. I believe that it will not only have a long lasting impact on the oral health of some of these children but also on their hearts - they signify that somebody cared."
– Dr. Jennifer Ladage

Even the simplest of items can have a huge impact. For the children of the College Mixte La Fontaine primary school in Haiti, the item they were most excited about receiving during a recent medical mission trip was their very own toothbrush.

The AmeriCares Medical Outreach program recently donated medicines and supplies to a short-term medical mission trip to the small village of Belle-vie, La Gonave Island, Haiti. The team of 6 people, lead by pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Ladage, visited the school for a week-long trip to provide health care to 206 children. The team treated issues like dental cavities and abscesses, burns, skin infections, wounds, rashes, and allergies.

Dental care is a significant problem within the school population, many of the students have cavities and other dental issues. The team treated the children and taught them good strategies for oral hygiene, including supplying each with a brand new toothbrush, donated by AmeriCares.

 After returning from her trip, Dr. Ladage said, “Out of all that we did, the children seemed most excited to receive their very own toothbrush donated by AmeriCares. Although individually, a single toothbrush may seem like a small gift, I believe that it will not only have a long lasting impact on the oral health of some of these children but also on their hearts - they signify that somebody cared.”

Each year, the AmeriCares Medical Outreach program helps support more than 1,000 medical outreach trips by providing primary care medications, anesthesia, surgical supplies, nutritional supplements and over the counter products. These trips touch the lives of people in more than 80 countries and help alleviate the pain and suffering faced by many.