The Knowledge and Participation of Community Health Care Workers in Oral Health Promotion
Keywords:Community Health Workers Programs Oral Health Promotion Oral Disease Prevention
The human resource constraints in oral health has affected the delivery and sustainability of community oral health programs hence, in the West Rand District of Gauteng, Community Health Workers (CHW) are trained and integrated in Oral Health. The study therefore sought to assess the level of oral health knowledge and referral practices of CHW working in the West Rand. The study utilized a cross-sectional descriptive study design and was undertaken in three West Rand district regions. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data and data was analyzed using descriptive and the chi-squared bivariate statistics. Out of the 450 CHW working in the West Rand, n=148 of them participated in the study, their average age was 39; (SD:8.8) and had 9 years (SD:3.3) of work experience. As
much as over 60% of participants reported to have been familiar with common oral conditions, they largely recognized tooth decay (48%) and information concerning the prevention of common diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease was inadequate. In terms of referral practices, they were poor as only (37%) referred when they recognized something unusual and (11%) never referred at all.
The oral health knowledge of the West Rand (CHW) was found to be inadequate, and this affected their ability to competently assess and refer common oral conditions.
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