Preventing the incidence of noma in children by providing food supplements (protein, vitamins and iron), antiseptic and antibiotic drugs, early detection systems and maternal education.
Noma is a gangrenous ulcer in the tissues of the mouth, nowadays almost entirely a disease of weakly children in developing countries. 80% of victims die, mostly from septicaemia. The survivors suffer the twofold affliction of disfigurement and functional handicap and most never again are able to speak or eat normally. Noma is a disease of extreme poverty, occurring in Africa, Latin America and Asia. According to WHO, every year several hundred thousand children under the age of six fall prey to noma, often following severe infectious or parasitic disease.
In November 1992, a meeting convened by WHO and Aide Odontologique Internationale adopted a 5-point plan for controlling noma: (a) prevention and early detection; (b) emergency care service; (c) etiological and epidemiological research; (d) treatment of sequelae; (e) opening a regional centre for complex treatment in West Africa.
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