The ‘O dentista do Bem’ project, run by the Brazilian NGO Turma Do Bem, Fundación MAPFRE Award winner for the Best Social Action Initiative, worth 30,000 euros.
In Brazil, 40 million people do not go to the dentist simply because they cannot afford to.
Her Majesty Queen Sofía will preside over the presentation ceremony for these international awards on 14 June, in Madrid.
O Dentista do Bem (The Good Dentist) is the world’s largest specialist voluntary network and the central project of the Brazilian NGO Turma Do Bem (TdB), created at the end of the nineties by Dr. Fábio Bibancos. Its objective is to contribute to the social inclusion of children and young people aged between 11 and 17 and with few economic resources by providing free dental treatment administered by the 17,100 dentists that make up the organization.
The treatment that these people receive, 71,000 of them so far, is curative, preventative and educational in nature and it is carried out in public schools, shelters and social organization centers as well as the volunteer dentists’ own surgeries. A distinguishing feature of this organization is the fact that they connect with all of the families involved and follow up on each case.
The program operates in 1,500 municipalities throughout Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. The patients are selected on the basis of their oral health and whether they are approaching working age.
Working for the oral health of children since 2002
Currently, a total of 2,400 million people in the world suffer from dental problems caused mainly by untreated caries. It is estimated that 190 million new cases emerge every year. In Brazil, specifically, 40 million people do not go to the dentist through lack of economic resources.
The project originated as the result of a book by Dr. Fábio Bibancos, a Brazilian dental surgeon, published in 1995 and entitled “A Happy Smile for your Child”, focusing on the prevention of dental problems. When giving talks in schools, the feedback from mothers was that prevention was not enough, which is why in 2002 he decided to get 15 colleagues together to give free treatment to children and young people.
Turma Do Bem (TdB) has received certification from the Brazilian Ministry of Justice as a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest (OSCIP), whose mission is to offer social inclusion through oral health.
Apart from O Dentista do Bem, the Brazilian NGO has other projects, one of which, created in 2012, stands out, helping 750 women victims of gender-based violence.
The Fundación MAPFRE Awards, international in character, recognize the work of people and institutions who strive every day to improve people’s way of life in areas related to social commitment, research, health, accident protection and insurance. The award will be presented on 14 June at the Casino de Madrid (Calle Alcalá, 15) by Her Majesty Queen Sofía.