Oral Health Training Course for Community Health Workers in Africa

This introductory course aims to build the capacity of community health workers on oral health promotion, oral disease prevention, and control to meet some of the unmet demand for oral health services and strengthen the oral health system through a cross-cutting approach (e.g., integration of oral health into noncommunicable diseases prevention and control) in the context of Universal Health Coverage.

This course will consist of a competency-based training module for community health workers in line with “Promoting Oral Health in Africa” and “Mobile technologies for oral health: an implementation guide” and teaching support materials for the designated trainers who will introduce the competency-based modules to community health workers.

Photo credits: WHO

Language: English
Health topic

Course information

This course is also available in the following languages:

Français - Português

This course consists of five modules for community health workers. As community health workers, these modules can be utilized for self-learning but we would like to recommend using this course with a designated trainer.

If you are a designated trainer, please review the special module for designated trainers in addition to modules 1-5 for community health workers.

This course includes additional reports and resources you can browse and utilize based on your role in your community as appropriate.

Course duration: Approximately 5 hours.

Certificates: A Certificate of Achievement certificate will be available to participants who score at least 80% of the total points available in all graded assessments. Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

What you'll learn

  • Explain, using examples, the relationship between oral health and overall health and well-being across the life course
  • Describe healthy individual behaviours and community factors that promote overall and oral health
  • Recognize healthy condition of infant, child, adolescent, and adult teeth and soft tissues
  • Outline basic disease processes of oral diseases and conditions
  • Explain common risk factors for oral and noncommunicable diseases
  • Screen for and recognize signs and symptoms of common oral diseases and conditions
  • Demonstrate proper oral hygiene techniques and basic management of oral diseases
  • Provide nutritional advice and discuss the availability of foods and beverages in the community
  • Discuss tobacco and alcohol use and guide individuals to resources that can support them in reducing use/quitting
  • Demonstrate necessary steps in making a patient referral for further care within the health system
  • Communicate essential oral health messages for school-aged children in group/classroom settings
  • Support school personnel in promoting oral health in the school setting
  • Collaborate with local leaders on oral health awareness and literacy campaigns in the community setting
  • State reasons for collecting and reporting community-level oral health data to the national health system
  • Perform community oral health data collection for monitoring and surveillance

Course contents

  • Introduction

  • Module 1: Introduction to Oral Health:

    This module focuses on introducing and defining oral health across the life course and gives an overview of oral health’s relationship to well-being across the life course. It also introduces basic oral anatomy. It consists of six parts.
  • Module 2: Introduction to Oral Diseases and Conditions:

    This module focuses on introducing common oral diseases and conditions, across the life course. It discusses risk factors, oral diseases, and conditions, specific associations with systemic health and disease (e.g., diabetes), as well as a technic for oral screenings. It consists of four parts.
  • Module 3: Techniques in Oral Health Promotion and Oral Disease Prevention:

    This module provides an overview of home hygiene practices; diet and nutrition; reducing tobacco and alcohol use; and management and referral. It consists of five parts.
  • Module 4: School and Community Based Oral Health Promotion:

    This module provides an overview of the school setting oral health campaigns and posters; oral health and brushing in a classroom; collaborating with school personnel and community leaders for oral health promotion; oral health literacy campaigns and advocacy in community settings; and community campaigns to reduce the availability or use of harmful products like tobacco and alcohol. It consists of three parts.
  • Module 5: Oral Health Monitoring and Data Collection at the Community Level:

    This module discusses collecting information and data from the community regarding oral health and disease. It consists of three parts.
  • Special Module for the Designated Trainers:

    This module is designed to help designated trainers build community health workers' capacity in oral health promotion, and oral disease prevention and control as part of their packages of essential services to their communities. It consists of five parts.

Enroll me for this course

The course is free. Just register for an account on OpenWHO and take the course!
Enroll me now
Learners enrolled: 5354

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.