Partners unite to provide oral health education for nurses and midwives

22 Nov 2022
Paige Cowan-Hall

Partners unite to provide oral health education for nurses and midwives

In a global first, Colgate has partnered with C3 Collaborating for Health (C3), the Commonwealth
Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF), and the World Continuing Education Alliance (WCEA) to
raise awareness about the importance of oral health and elevate the need for oral health education
for nurses and midwives in practice. The initiative is part of Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures
Program and will combine an online survey with the development of an online continuing
professional development module on oral health. The initial target countries will be Kenya, South
Africa and Tanzania.

The World Health Assembly at their 74th session in 2021, approved a resolution on oral health1 which
recommends a shift from the traditional curative approach toward a preventive approach. This
would see oral health promotion and prevention interventions included in universal health coverage
programs, such as the promotion of oral health within the family, schools and workplaces, as well as
integration into primary health care.

Oral health is essential for overall health, well-being and quality of life. It is estimated that oral
diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people with untreated dental caries the most common health
condition (Global Burden of Diseases 2019).2 Most oral health conditions are largely preventable.
Oral diseases disproportionally affect the poor and socially disadvantaged members of society.
Unequal distribution of oral health professionals and a lack of appropriate health facilities means
that access to primary oral health services is often low. Treatment for oral health conditions is
expensive and usually not part of universal health coverage and out-of-pocket costs for oral health
care can be major barriers to accessing care.

Nurses and midwives are in a unique position to raise awareness about the importance of oral
health and provide oral health education to individuals, families and communities. Implementing
preventive measures early will alleviate individual pain, discomfort and disfigurement and reduce
the economic burden of oral diseases on individuals and the health system.
The transition to an increased focus on oral health promotion and disease prevention will have three
major areas: enhancing oral health education in initial nursing and midwifery education; providing
an online CPD module on oral health; and the inclusion of oral health into client or patient
assessment forms and care plans. The partners, Colgate, C3, CNMF and WCEA are excited to have
this opportunity and are confident the project will bring about lasting and sustainable change which
can be replicated in other countries. For further information contact one of the partners.

Colgate-Palmolive is a caring, innovating growth company that is reimagining a healthier future for
all. Since 1991, the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® Program has reached more than 1.4 billion
school children in over 80 countries to teach them about oral health care.

C3 Collaborating for Health (C3): contact Christine Hancock
C3 is a global charity which brings together diverse and often unusual partners to address noncommunicable diseases’ leading risk factors by promoting three behaviour changes: improving what
we eat and drink; stopping smoking; and increasing physical activity.

Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF): contact Jill Iliffe
The CNMF is a federation of national nursing and midwifery professional and industrial organisations
in Commonwealth countries, providing information, networking, leadership and in-country

World Continuing Education Alliance (WCEA): contact Craig Fitzpatrick
WCEA is a social impact technology company focused on building capacity in the training of
healthcare professionals in low- and middle-income countries through sustainable technology
solutions. WCEA aims to ensure HCPs have easy access to education and information to deliver
optimum patient care and improve health outcomes.