Although it’s been over 20 years since Dr. Esther O. Kuyinu left her native Nigeria, she remains active in efforts to broaden access to oral healthcare in a country with staggering unmet needs. Dr. Kuyinu, a Clinical Associate Professor of Prosthodontics, travels frequently to Nigeria to help address the dual problems of a lack of dental equipment and inadequate access to care.
Two years ago, when she learned that NYUCD’s third- and fourth-floor general dentistry clinics were being renovated, she arranged for the College to donate 51 dental chairs and dozens of instruments to 16 public health clinics in Nigeria. She also secured an agreement from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, which operates most of the clinics that received the donations, to have the chairs used at least 70 percent of the time for free oral health screenings and treatment sponsored by the Kids Network, a Nigerian advocacy group.
I’ve been blessed to come to the United States to specialize in prosthodontics, become a dental educator, and open a private practice. This is my way of giving back, says Dr. Kuyinu, who earned a BDS degree from the University of Lagos School of Dentistry, an MS in prosthodontics from Georgetown University School of Dentistry, and a DDS degree from NYUCD.
Although the concept of free oral health screenings and oral hygiene education has been largely unknown in many parts of Africa until now, our strategy is being well received. I hope that other institutions will follow NYUCD’s example and come forward to donate equipment and supplies needed to facilitate free screenings and treatment on a wider scale.
Dr. Kuyinu wishes to thank the following for their assistance: Dr. Michael C. Alfano, Executive Vice President of NYU; Dr. Richard I. Vogel, Executive Vice Dean; Dr. Francis V. Panno, former Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs; Ms. Susan Abraham, Director of Administration; Dr. Bukola Ogunkua and The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church, in partnership with Conshohocken United Methodist Church; Dr. Gbenga Ogunlewe and Dr. Kofo Savage, coleaders of Kids Network; Dr. Nurudeen Olowopopo, Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas; and Dr. Jide Idris, Lagos State Health Commissioner.