World Medical Association ‘appalled’ at oral mutilation in Africa
- By: Chibuzo Odigwe
The World Medical Association has called for an end to the traditional practice of oral mutilation of infants and has lent its voice to the call for improved dental care services in Africa. The call was made last week in Nairobi by the association's president, James Appleyard, at the first ever planning conference for oral health in the African region.
He said, “One of the most appalling customs, referred to as infant oral mutilation, is practised in Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Kenya. The infant's baby teeth are removed from under their gums by unclean tools, causing pain, suffering, and disfigurement, with damage to the permanent teeth. Some infants die of septicaemia. Others die of tetanus.”
He added that access to dental care was limited in many parts of the world, particularly where the need was greatest. He said the problem was worse in countries where there was internal strife and