PAHO 1996

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Gives PAHO Grant
to Improve Oral Health

   Washington, August 23, 1996 – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has begun a project to improve oral health through salt fluoridation, covering some 350 million persons in Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela.

   The project is funded by a $750,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.

     PAHO Director Dr. George Alleyne said, "I would like to express my appreciation to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for having approved a grant to the Pan American Health Organization for the execution of the Multi-Year Plan for Salt Fluoridation Programs in the Region of the Americas. We will make sure that the contribution to this program will change the oral health situation in the six selected countries for the benefit of the relevant population. The Program should also become a model on which to build up new programs in other countries in the future."

   The project is part of a multi-year plan launched by PAHO in 1994 to fluoridate the entire Region of the Americas. "The most promising strategy for improving the oral health of millions in the Region of the Americas resides in salt fluoridation," according to PAHO experts, and by the year 2000, they hope to have either salt or water fluoridated in the entire region. For every dollar invested in salt fluoridation programs, countries can save more than $40 in curative dental care that is no longer necessary. Fluoridation programs have already proven a success in Europe and in the Americas. In Jamaica, for example, dental caries were reduced 85% after a comprehensive salt fluoridation began in 1987. Costa Rica saw a drop of 40% in caries after five years of salt fluoridation.

   The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 to "help people help themselves." As a private grantmaking foundation, it provides seed money to organizations and institutions that have identified problems and have designed constructive action programs aimed at solutions.

   A majority of the Foundation’s grantmaking is focused on the areas of youth; leadership; volunteerism and philanthropy; community-based, problem-focused health services; higher education; food systems; rural development; groundwater resources, and economic development (in Michigan). Programming priorities concentrate grants in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southern Africa.

   PAHO, an international public health agency founded in 1902, works closely with community groups, non-government organizations, and ministries of health to improve the health of people in the Americas.