Sherifat Omolola Quadri
Fellow Since 1996
Preventive Denistry Demonstration Centre
This profile was prepared when Sherifat Omolola Quadri was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Good dental health in Nigeria is a privilege of the wealthy few who can afford expensive private dental care provided by the small number of qualified dentists. Sherifat Quadri, a public health officer and a trained dental hygienist, is trying to change this by introducing preventive dental services into Nigeria. Departing radically from the prevailing public health model of education campaigns aimed at adults coupled with free but temporary public services, Sherifat's approach targets children and charges for private services from the outset.To spread her approach, Sherifat is training the country's underutilized dental hygienists to be self-employed "barefoot dentists." Using her own successful practice as a model, she shows them both how to provide the greatest preventive dental care benefit for the majority of Nigerians, who would ordinarily only resort to dentists, doctors or traditional healers in dental emergencies. Perhaps more importantly, she teaches them how to develop this market and to make a reasonable living doing so. In so doing she is heading off a mass exodus from the profession due to a lack of formal employment opportunities and, by example is transforming the model for dental care in Nigeria.