Thursday, December 24, 2009
COHO is the acronym for Community Oral Health Officer and I could not do my job without them. This is Naomi (COHO employee at Tenwek for the past 2 years) and Sylvester (COHO intern for the past 4 months). COHO's go through a 3 year training at Kenya Medical Training College in all aspects of dentistry. Just as Dental Hygienists fit the need of patient's in America (we all need regular cleanings) COHO's fit the need in Kenya (many Kenyans need multiple and regular extractions of diseased teeth).
Well over half of our patients come to Kijabe Dental in pain, with oral infection, oral pathology, or advanced periodontal conditions. The COHO's (we have 4) triage these patients and take x-rays as necessary, extract diseased teeth, counsel regarding oral hygiene, and provide full mouth scaling for those with calculus. I am available as a 'consultant' which frees me up for elective care, unknown pathology, teaching restorative, difficult diagnosis, molar rct, crowns, orthodontics, etc.
Naomi is a product of Kijabe born and raised just a few Kilometers from the Hospital. She is part of the Africa Inland Church Choir and a teacher in the youth group.
Sylvester stays in Northwest Kenya. He is 1 of 13 children and has invited me to his home to eat Mangoes and meet each of his siblings. When asked about the size of his family he told me his parents did not understand or know about birth control. He is currently dating but say's, "I am leaving a lot open to change."