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Women's oral and dental health aspects in humanitarian missions and disasters: Jordanian experience

Leena Smadi, BDS, MDentSci, FDS RCSEd, Aiman Al Sumadi, MD, FRCOG


Objective: The study aimed to review oral and dental health aspects in female patients presented to Jordanian Royal Medical Services (RMS) international humanitarian missions over a 3-year period.

Design and Method: Analysis of humanitarian missions of RMS data and records over a 3-year period (2011-2013) in regard to women's oral and dental health issues was done. The data were analyzed in regard to the number of women seen, the presenting conditions, and the prevalence of oral and dental diseases and procedures in these cases.

Results: During the 3-year period, 72 missions were deployed in four locations (Gaza, Ram Allah—West Bank, Jeneen—West Bank, and Iraq). The total number of females seen in this period was 86,436 women, accounting for 56 percent of adult patients seen by RMS humanitarian missions. Dental Clinics were deployed to only two missions (Iraq and Gaza), during which they received 13,629 visits; of these, 41 percent were females (5,588 patients), 29 percent were males, and 30 percent were in the pediatric age group. Trauma accounts for only 7 percent of the cases, while nonacute dental problems (caries and gingivitis) were responsible for the majority of cases (31.6 and 28.7 percent, respectively).

Conclusion: RMS dental services during humanitarian mission deployment are a vital part of comprehensive healthcare. Women usually seek more dental care than men, with the majority of treatments for nonacute conditions. RMS experiences demonstrate the tremendous need for a well-defined preparedness plan for deployment of humanitarian missions that considers the contributions of all types of health professionals, the appropriate mobile technology to respond to emergent health risks, and a competent workforce ready and able to respond. Such preparation will require our dental education programs to develop disaster preparedness competencies to achieve the desired level of understanding.


disaster preparedness, first responders, humanitarian missions, military medicine, women's dental health

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