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Dental Association Explores how to Stop Infection, Spread of Germs

26 August 2022

From Leslie Hull-Ryde

HONIARA, Solomon Islands – Members of the Solomon Islands Dental Association (SIDA) joined a U.S. Navy dentist in celebrating her son’s birthday and used the occasion to review a festive way to keep patients and medical providers healthy.

SIDA invited Lt. Cmdr. Alice-Anne Alcorn to present a continuing education seminar at the Honiara City Council Dental Clinic, Aug. 23, 2022, on infection prevention and control.

She kicked off the engagement by asking her fellow dental professionals to join her in wishing her son “happy birthday.”

During her presentation, Alcorn recommended medical and dental providers and their patients wash their hands for approximately 20 seconds – about as long as it takes to sing two stanzas of “Happy Birthday.”

The SIDA seminar attendees discussed ways to thoroughly clean hands by using warm water and soap and avoid touching surfaces, which may be laden with germs.

“Handwashing is the single most important procedure in breaking the cycle of spreading germs and preventing infection,” the U.S. Navy dentist said.

“Clean hands save lives.”

Before seeing patients, before putting on medical gloves and after removing them are just a few routine times when dentists should wash their hands.

“It’s a community effort to wash hands, which should be led by healthcare professionals,” Alcorn said.

“We can help stop the spread of infections. It starts with us. We need to model good hand hygiene for our patients.”

One member of the Honiara dental community believes he and others in the profession have a responsibility to share with patients the role this one simple behavior has on their personal health – and those around them.

“It is very important for us, the [healthcare workers], to tell our patients to wash their hands before eating and after doing certain things,” said Cameron Inomae, an oral health therapist with the Honiara City Council Dental Service.

“For instance, wash your hands before eating. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, and also remember wash your hands after eating. And, brush your teeth after eating, and every morning and in the evening.”

Alcorn is currently in the Solomon Islands for Pacific Partnership 2022. Now in its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific.

In Honiara, the Pacific Partnership 2022 team is comprised of representatives from Australia, Japan, and the United States. PP22 events are coordinated with the host nation and are planned based on the requirements and requests of Solomon Islands.


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