Experienced Swedish graduated Dental Hygienist with a demonstrated history of working both clinically and within oral health promotion in fieldwork. I have a passion for oral health promotion and choose to proudly call myself- Oral Health Promoter. My passion of promoting oral health among people in my home country- Kosovo but also worldwide (thru social media), has been one of my priorities in my career. I am founder of my NGO- Center for Preventive Dentistry (non government organization) where I educated more than 1500 children in oral health with different ethnic and social backgrounds. I am also the winner of 2004 scholarship of Swedish Dental Hygienist Association, where I was selected to implement an oral health care project among post-war children in Center for Mother and Children in Prishtina, Kosovo. During my academic experience with two Master degrees in Oral Health sciences and Health Management, I have chosen to study the oral health situation in Kosovo and have a deep knowledge in scientific work. I learned a lot during my professional journey and understood that oral health is an integrated part of the general health and wellbeing. I therefore work with a holistic philosophy, meaning that I always choose to understand the underlying causes of the oral health diseases and always promote the oral health as part of general health. In this way I educate and treat each one of my patients from their personal needs. Patient centered care is an important perspective in order to plan, maintain and improve oral health of the patients. I’am CEO of my company Dental Care- as a sub distributor of Swedish company Tepe- Oral Health Care Products for Kosovo. I educate people daily in how to maintain a good oral health thru Tepe products. Even though it’s not always easy I see a lot of progress in people understanding the importance of oral health and the good will of changing their oral health care habits and overall health.
How it all started!
I have had passion for oral health ever since my secondary school where I decided to study medical care concentrated in dentistry in Sweden (where I grew up). During this time, I realized that oral health is an important part of general health. During the studies I also found such passion for oral health promotion, and as I was visiting my home country, I realized that not all people had the opportunity to have access to god dental care, neither did they can get the proper education about preventive measurements. I could see that people had bad teeth and bad habits of oral hygiene and sugar consumption. During this time, I realized that I wanted this to change, I wanted to educate people in oral health!
During 2001 I was one of the selected students to receive a small scholarship from Erasmus minor field studies, and this was a help for me to afford the ticket and stay in Kosovo. I did the internship mainly in University of Pristina- Dental Faculty, where I got to se the different departments but mostly the department of Pediatric Dentistry. I was terrified by the cases and all these doctors running around like heroes trying to do the best just to get these children out of toothache. There was absolutely no time for preventive care or education because the treatments where mainly curative and the doctors and students had to do their work.
As I understood the situation of bad oral health in Kosovo, my passion started to grow even more. I wanted this to change and I wanted to be the first Dental Hygienist in Kosovo to prevent oral diseases in a very different or Swedish way. I had my obstacles believe me! It wasn’t easy to face a different mentality with a very bureaucratic perspective. But I followed my heart and my way trying to do something individually. I decided to do a project in a center who was taking care of children and mother that where treated for postwar traumas. I wrote my project and sent it to National Dental Hygienist Association year 2002 as they were announcing the student fellow to one who was doing a project in oral health promotion. I won the category with my project in Kosovo. I was so overwhelmed and got the chance to do this big project with more than 85 children in the Center for Rehabilitation of Mothers and Children in Pristina, Kosovo. I got so emotional as I understood that the oral health wasn’t their priority, their background was terrifying with the worst stories you can imagine. Most of the children didn’t even have their parents. And this beautiful center was there to help them overcome their postwar trauma. I was at the center for one month doing my project that consisted of free dental check ups and preventive education, including instruction in oral hygiene- brush teeth together, education thru lectures and demonstrations. It was a fantastic and very emotional experience, its wasn’t just oral health promotion, it was also a promotion of overall health!
My passion for promoting oral health continued, and as I decided to move back to Kosovo, I started up my own NGO- (non-governmental organization) called Center for Preventive Dentistry. We have educated more than 1500 children in oral health, mainly in kindergartens and schools but also thru different events and campaigns. Our goal is promoting good oral hygiene habits but focus a lot on good diet since the sugar consumption in Kosovo is very high. In this way we also promote good oral health and integrate the promotion of good general health.
As a highlight of yearly projects is celebrating World Oral Health Day. I always choose to do it in very innovative way, trying to get as much attention as possible. Beside the oral promotion project, I created two videos for the World Oral Health Day that I shared thru social media in order to raise the awareness among the population. Its amazing how people get motivated and start to see their oral health as part of general health.
CENTER OF PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY
Center of Preventive Dentistry is an NGO which was established in 2008, with the aim of improving Oral Health among population in Kosovo. We are working on improving oral health through oral health promotion. Our main target are the children, because we believe that every child have the right to maintain a good oral health.
The oral health in Kosovo is in really bad condition, due to lack of a national strategy for Oral Health Promotion but also because of socio- economic factors. Today the prevalence of caries is almost 95 percent, which is an alarmed situation. This means that almost every child has 5-6 teeth missing, filled or with cavity. The Center of Preventive Dentistry had been active and volunteer for a few project of oral health promotion. As we see a big need during our work, which mainly is lack of knowledge about maintaining good oral health and simple preventive measures. We see thankful people that want to have a healthy smile.
CPD therefore in accordance to the EU targets for better oral health 2020, wants to achieve preventive policies as:
• All population groups should have access to oral health care based on needs.
• Developed a specific national oral health prevention strategy or action plan, based on central EU guidelines. These strategies should reflect the common risk factor approach, take into consideration specific at-risk groups and integrate specific oral health targets in national health and health research programmes.
• Kosovo should address the increasing oral health inequalities by developing health promotion programmes focusing on good oral hygiene practices, the use of fluoride, healthy dietary habits, sugar reduction and the promotion of sugar alternatives, as well as on the broader social, behavioural and environmental determinants of health.
• Each EU Member State should integrate oral health in national curricula for all healthcare practitioners (doctors, pharmacists, nurses, nutritionists etc.) and in their continuing professional development.
• Carers for the elderly at home and in institutions for the elderly, as well as those for orphan children and those with special needs, should be trained in and routinely provide daily oral hygiene for those in their care.
Education and awareness
• Each EU Member State should have developed national/regional school-based oral health prevention programmes in primary and secondary schools and/or integrated oral health advice in curricula of primary and secondary schools. These programmes may include free dental check-ups and especially aim to teach children and teenagers good oral hygiene practices, the use of fluoride, healthy dietary habits, sugar reduction and the use of sugar alternatives.
• All universities/dental schools in Europe should have integrated in their curricula the Competence Domain “prevention and health promotion” - encompassing the graduating dentists' competences at promoting and improving the oral health of individuals, families and groups, as described in the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) published document “Profile and competences for the graduating European dentist”.
• All EU Member States should have developed a national public health campaign to raise citizen’s awareness of oral health and impulse good prevention habits and tobacco cessation behaviours. http://www.oralhealthplatform.eu/proposed-2020-targets-better-oral-health-europe