While Kenya has made impressive strides in development in recent decades, data related to oral health in the country indicates significant room for improvement. The Ministry of Health in Kenya only allocates less than 1% of their budget for oral health care services, making treatment in rural areas scarce.
Over 50% of Kenyans in rural areas chew miswak (a stick "toothbrush") to scrub their teeth, which can cause gum recession, while also claiming to have difficulty chewing in general. Over 98% of adult Kenyans have signs of gum disease and the vast majority of the population goes years without visiting a dentist, only visiting due to pain. As a result, 24% of Kenyans in rural areas reported interruptions during sleep due to oral pain and discomfort, among other problems.
Kenya also faces an extreme shortage of dentists, with only roughly 1,000 qualified dentists serving a population of over 46 million. Making matters worse, people living in rural towns and villages must travel long distances to receive care because 80% of dentists are located in urban areas. For the millions of Kenyans living in rural areas, traveling far distances and paying for oral care are simply unfeasible options.
Our goal is to reach those Kenyans without options and provide free oral health care.
Time Since Most Recent Dental Visit for Rural Kenyans (%)
Zosseo Overland Support will return to Kenya in March 2018.
During the 2017-2018 winter break, we rang in the New Year by returning to Kenya. Over the course of 8 days, we laid the groundwork for both our mobile clinics and volunteer programs. Our journey led us to meet with local leaders, healthcare professionals and volunteers in Narok County. Our destination, Oloolaimutia, is an impoverished Kenyan village near the borders of Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve. In Oloolaimutia, we met with local leaders, healthcare professionals and volunteers at the Sopa Clinic. In a single day, we served 29 children and 41 adults.
In 2016, Founder Dr. Joseph Zimmer and Board Member Patti Hawkins traveled into the Maasai Mara, Kenya to analyze the health care needs in rural regions.
Extractions: 400 (estimate)