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 provide a continuing professional development module on oral health for nurses and midwives. The two-hour interactive module was developed by the CNMF and hosted on the WCEA education platform. The initial target countries were Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania. The initiative is part of Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Program.
An initial target of 300 course completions was set however to date there has been 337 successful completions with 446 courses still in progress. The data demonstrates a 14.73% knowledge gain from pre- and post-tests. Some of the learner’s comments were:
The module was easy to understand.
I learnt new terminologies and new methods of dental care.
It was helpful and I gained so much especially the conditions association with oral health.
It was well researched and presented.
Improved (my) knowledge and skills as well as updating on oral health management.
The CPD module has been highly evaluated by participants:
- 99% strongly agreed or agreed that the content met learning outcomes;
- 98% found the module informative; 99% felt the content was presented in a logical format;
- 98% felt the links and activities in the module added to the learning;
- 98% felt their knowledge and skills has been refreshed;
- 98% learned something new;
- 99% felt the module met their needs for identifying new knowledge and skills;
- and 98% felt the module was useful and valuable.
The development of the CPD module for nurses and midwives links directly to World Health Organisation initiatives on oral health. The World Health Assembly at their 74th session in 2021, approved a resolution on oral health which recommends a shift from the traditional curative approach toward a preventive approach and the inclusion of oral health promotion and prevention interventions in universal health coverage programs and essential health packages. A global oral health action plan was approved by the WHA in 2022 and a monitoring framework, goals and targets will be approved at the WHA in 2023.
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). Recent research has demonstrated that untreated periodontal disease has a close association with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease.
Most oral health conditions are largely preventable. Oral diseases disproportionally affect the poor and socially disadvantaged members of society and an 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.
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. 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.
C3, CNMF and WCEA are extremely pleased with the results so far and are confident that the nurses and midwives who have completed the CPD module will incorporate their learning into practice to bring about lasting and sustainable change. The partners are lobbying Colgate to replicate the initiative in other countries. For further information contact one of the partners below.
C3 Collaborating for Health (C3): contact Christine Hancock [email protected]
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 [email protected]
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 [email protected]
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 cares and improve health outcomes.
 World Health Organisation November 2022 Global oral health status report: toward universal health coverage for oral health by 2030 available from https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240061484