The Role of Community Health Workers in Oral Health Promotion and the Impact of their services in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review.




craniofacial, hygiene


Oral ailments are largely preventable but remain a significant public health concern afflicting nearly half the global population. These conditions account for 220 years of life lost per 100,000 people and about US$500 billion in health-related expenditures. SubSaharan Africa bears a significant burden of oral health problems thus exerting additional pressure on the scarce human resources for health. Community healthcare workers (CHWs) could be potentially utilised to bridge the shortage of oral health professionals in
sub-Saharan Africa, hence, this systematic review that seeks to explore their current roles in oral health and potential impact on general physical health. This review follows the PRISMA guidelines and databases searched include PubMed, Web of Science, Medline, and CINAHL published between January 2010 and December 2019. Nine studies met the study eligibility criteria. The authors
of this review established that CHWs perform variable roles cutting across primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention including providing oral hygiene education, recognising common pathologies, and treating oral lesions, administration of tooth extractions, dental pain management, and referral for advanced care. Although this could potentially improve oral health, our review did not establish the extent of the specific impact on general physical health of patients and the burden of oral condition.


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Author Biography

Ephraim Kisangala, Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK


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How to Cite

Khan, M. A., Okeah, B. O. ., Mbivnjon, E. L. ., Kisangala, E. ., & Pritchard, A. W. . (2022). The Role of Community Health Workers in Oral Health Promotion and the Impact of their services in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review. South African Dental Journal, 77(05), 285–293.