ARTA, DJIBOUTI –
U.S. Army Reserve personnel assigned to Civil Affairs East Africa Southern European Task Force Africa (CA-EA SETAF-AF) functional specialty team, in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), conducted multiple preventative oral hygiene demonstrations at the International School of Africa, Arta, Djibouti on March 23, 2021.
The CA-EA SETAF-AF functional specialty team is composed of dentists, veterinarians, medics, and other medical specialties, giving them the unique capability to deliver and share educational and clinical expertise throughout the Horn of Africa.
The team members split into three groups with different dental hygiene and oral health care focuses in order to reach all age groups at the school.
“Our group focused on how beverages affect your teeth and overall health,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Stovall Volanta, a dental technician assigned to CA-EA SETAF-AF. “It was nice to see when we were doing our interactive performance more kids went over to water instead of soda, which is all I wanted.”
The CA-EA SETAF-AF team members collectively spoke to more than 70 children at the school, reinforcing the focus on preventative oral health care.
“Learning how to take care of your teeth is very important, especially at a young age,” said U.S. Army Maj. Sachiyo Kawaguchi, a dentist assigned to CA-EA SETAF-AF. “If we aren’t taking care of our teeth as we grow, we will lose them and not get them back.”
When each class ended, the team members handed out goodie bags filled with toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children. The CA-EA SETAF-AF team will continue to conduct preventative oral hygiene classes with the hopes of expanding their outreach and building relationships with the local population.
“While this was a success, we would like to get local dentists involved in future classes,” said Kawaguchi. “To have them involved would give children a better understanding of the resources in their community.”