THE YEAR 2012 marked a successful run for the Sandals Foundation and Great Shape! Inc partnership, which saw more than 6,000 Jamaicans receiving free dental services, valued at more than US$2 million.
This number shows a 23 per cent increase in patient turnout over the previous year, with just over 9,000 clinical dental procedures being carried out in the parishes of Hanover, Westmoreland, St James, St Ann, St Mary and St Elizabeth. The procedures included cleanings, fillings, extractions and sealants.
In addition, approximately 7,000 children at 32 schools in Jamaica were taught the importance of dental hygiene, while 2,600 of those benefited from the Sandals Foundation's Oral Health Project - a 2012 Oral Health Month initiative that was supported by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit education organisation behind Sesame Street, that provided 'Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me' outreach kits to the students.
Great Shape! Inc, which brings the 1000 Smiles Dental Programme to Jamaica each year, has had a presence in the country for 10 years, working with the Sandals Foundation since 2009.
"Partnering with Great Shape means that the quality of life for thousands of people will improve, considering that professional dental care is not affordable for many. This is something that the Sandals Foundation is aware of; so we are committed to working with Caribbean communities, with the help of our partners, in addressing development issues such as lack of access to health care," said Heidi Clarke, director of programmes of the Sandals Foundation.
Through the Sandals Foundation's partnership with Great Shape, that carries out the 1000 Smiles and iCare programmes, more than 62,219 people have had access to dental and eye-care clinics along with oral hygiene education.
"Great Shape! Simply could never have achieved such heights in community service without the amazing support. We are looking forward to an even brighter future as we continue to find ways to serve Jamaican communities and people in need," said Joseph Wright, executive director of Great Shape! Inc.