Our long term goal is striving to improve the livelihood of the citizens in Ghana through oral health care and demonstrate the effects that proper oral health has on overall health. We anticipate our project to become sustainable in Ghana through teaching and by stressing the importance of continuing oral care once the donated materials are consumed. To this end, we measure our success based not only upon the quantity of dental supplies we can gather and ultimately distribute to the citizens of Lawra, but also upon the increase of knowledge of dental hygiene and the increase of effective and lasting dental care practices in the region.
The beginning stages of our project aimed to create awareness about Project HEAL in our community while informing supporters about the lack of dentists in Lawra, Ghana. Nevertheless, our current short term success is being measured by reaching our goal of 3,000 toothbrushes and 3,000 tubes of toothpaste before the trip to Ghana in May. The fundraising began in September and currently we have 1,503 toothbrushes, 1,271 tubes of toothpaste and 223 containers of floss. This number is just shy of our halfway mark and with projects underway and with donations coming in by the day, I truly believe our goal can be achieved. To reach this goal, we are currently holding dental drives in elementary schools, contacting dentists throughout North Carolina, writing proposals to toothpaste and toothbrush supply companies, and sponsoring fundraisers to alleviate shipping costs.
Overall, our impact will be measured by returning to Ghana in the summer of 2010 when we hope to begin a new phase to Project HEAL. We hope to use video conferencing between US dentists and local doctors and nurses to which would enable US dentists to demonstrate ways to alleviate oral pain and care for patients. We are aware that the supplies we donate will not last for a year, but feel that by distributing toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste and educating about proper oral care, individuals will be more likely purchase these items from local stores in the future.
Winning a Plum Grant would enable our organization to be able to purchase toothbrush covers to distribute in order to increase sanitation, to purchase plastic bags in which to package the supplies for distribution, and to print flyers demonstrating proper oral health techniques for the citizens of Lawra.