Posts tagged #Hygiene

Ambassador Spotlight: Peru's Dental Program

Ana Pierina Gonzalez is our current Ambassador on site at Project Huancayo. Ana is a Temple University undergraduate student and aspires to be a dentist. She has taken her passion for helping others and combined it with her interest in the dental field to create a dental program focusing on the local children on Huancayo. She will be sharing weekly updates with us about her progress working in the community, enjoy!

The goal of this project is to improve oral health among early elementary school children with the support of their tutors and the health staff at local orphanages. Throughout the months of July and August, we will accomplish this goal by teaching children healthy dental habits and by giving them the necessary tools to maintain these new habits for the rest of their lives. During this time period, we are educating expectant mothers about how their dietary choices affect the future oral health of their developing children.

This project grew out of the existing FIMRC Dental Campaign in Sapallanga, Junin. That project revealed that children had 90% plaque build-up on their teeth. This figure suggests a lack of knowledge among children about oral health and poor dental hygiene.

So far, we have successfully collected plaque tests from 50 children at the San Juan Diego and Aldea Infantil El Rosario orphanages and given four presentations on oral healthcare, brushing techniques, and healthy eating habits. The children are always eager to participate in the presentation and always ask questions at the end of the session. Games are always fun and a great way to test what they have learned from each presentation and to get them involved in learning the material.

In addition to the tests and presentations, we have bimonthly meetings with the tutors and health staff at each orphanage to get them involved in the oral health of their children. We teach them about the oral hygiene practices their children should engage in and ask them to track changes/improvements in the oral health of their children. We also have bimonthly assessments and weekly reports from parents and guardians about dental knowledge and oral hygiene practices of their children.


I have also been deeply involved with a health clinic at Cajas, Junin. Cajas is a 30-minute drive from Huancayo. Shadowing at Cajas Health Clinic has been one of the greatest experiences of my internship. Dr. Deisy Vilca and Noemi Melendres have given me a tremendous amount of support and have been terrific mentors. They have helped me throughout the way with tips, advice, recommendations, and support to start and run this project and to help me pursue my goal of going to dental school.

Next week, we will start with the presentations at Cajas Health Clinic for expectant mothers on how food choices and breastfeeding affect the future oral health of their children. Stay tuned for next week’s update on the progress of this project!


We love toilets - wait, what?

November 19th marks World Toilet Day, a UN recognized day of action and activism to promote awareness of a basic need: sanitation. It is difficult for many of us to imagine what it would be like to not have access to a basic toilet, but for 2.5 billion people around the globe, it is the reality they face each day. 

At FIMRC's Project Restauración in the Dominican Republic, many families are without access to toilets. After a community diagnostic, it was determined that building latrines would significantly enhance the quality of life for members of the community in Restauración. 

Project Restauración's Field Operations Manager, Joe South, explains FIMRC's latrine project

The latrine project in Restauración is not only the construction of bathrooms but the promotion of a behavioral change towards overall hygiene and sanitation. Each family receiving a latrine is required to go through a half day seminar on the various oral-fecal routes which lead to diarrhea and parasites, as well as contribute to the construction of each latrine via manual labor. Not only that, in each latrine site FIMRC will construct a hands free hand washing station to further promote overall cleanliness. It is a multifaceted approach that actively involves the immediate family and will hopefully diminish the instances of diarrhea and cholera in the area.

Field Operations Manager Joe South and FIMRC Fellow Jamie Conover constructing one of fourteen latrines at Restauración.

Field Operations Manager Joe South and FIMRC Fellow Jamie Conover constructing one of fourteen latrines at Restauración.

The success of the latrine has been made possible by the support of the community at Restauración, as said best by  Augustin Valerio Martinez, the lead mason for this project

This is a necessary project that FIMRC is doing in the community. These families, although they are Haitians, are part of our town. They work alongside us (Dominicans), raise their children with ours, why shouldn't they be afforded the same comforts as most of us?

In addition to building fourteen latrines in the area, FIMRC staff and volunteers have installed hands-free hand-washing stations to promote healthy hygiene habits. 

In addition to building fourteen latrines in the area, FIMRC staff and volunteers have installed hands-free hand-washing stations to promote healthy hygiene habits. 

For more information about World Toilet Day, visit www.worldtoiletday.org and for more information about FIMRC's work at Project Restauración, click here.