How Nigerians can access mobile and affordable Dental service – Dr. Banjo Tunde
In this article, we would be focusing on the ingenuity of the first indigenous mobile dental clinic in Nigeria.
Let’s get to meet you
My name is Dr. Banjo Tunde, born in July 1980. My state of origin is Odogbolu in Ogun state. I attended Federal Government College Odogbolu as my Secondary School and the higher institution was Yaba College of Technology and the University of Lagos. I came from a humble background where I have to sell to raise money some time to pay my school fees. I grew up in Shomolu in Lagos. It was very tough growing up because I lost my mum at age 1.
What inspired you to get into DENTISTRY?
Actually, I didn’t choose dentistry as a course going into Higher institution, I chose Medicine and Surgery, I just found my name on the merit list under dentistry, at first, I was not happy because I didn’t know the prospects in Dentistry. Because of this, I started doing research on prospects in dentistry that was how I got inspiration on Mobile Dental Care.
How long has your business been operational and what is the philosophy or vision behind the first mobile dental care initiative?
First Mobile Dental care has been in operation since 2012. We started on the street because there was no finance to rent an office, we started very small, despite that we were committed to providing quality dental services and also affordable ones. The philosophy of First mobile dental care is to provide quality dental services which are also affordable to People especially in areas where Dental care services are not available.
We are the first indigenous mobile dental clinic in Nigeria and our goal is to take quality and affordable dental care across the Country and beyond especially areas where dental care services are not available.
Do you have standard dental goals you would recommend to anyone and how can they achieve this?
Mobile dentistry is highly capital intensive, to import a factory-fitted mobile Dental van from abroad cost over 60 million naira and it will take many years to recoup your investment. We started small, our first dental van was constructed locally, I raised the fund from my House job and NYSC Salaries.
Driving this mobile dental care initiative can be capital intensive. Do you have support from the government and the private sector? What are their roles?
Presently we have not gotten any support from the Government or the private sector. We grew the business from the scratch and we are positively growing organically.
What is the level of awareness in Nigeria on dental care and its importance? Do people practice orthodox dental care too?
Dental awareness is still very low, especially in rural communities. Our mobile dental van is doing a lot in promoting dental care in Nigeria because we mostly visit communities with low dental care penetration. People still practice orthodox dental care because of the affordability of modern dental care.
What has been your major challenge in driving this initiative?
Poor Funding, insecurity, and poor road networks are the major challenges. Mobile is highly capital intensive. The level of insecurity in the country discourages us from carrying out some interventions in some communities. Poor road networks affect our penetrations
Is this initiative community-based? Are there plans to make it a national or continental project?
We cover the entire country; we have been to the north, south, southeast, and west. We currently plan to move beyond Nigeria.
In the course of driving this project, are there plans to synergize with other community-based projects in creating more value-based initiatives
We plan to synergize with other community-based projects in creating more value-based initiatives
Do you have any systematic approach to collating data to measure the achievement and progress of the project?
We presently don’t engage in any particular data collation approach. But in the nearest future, we plan to engage professional firms that would manage the data we generate and also help in future decision making and research.
Looking at the general health sector in Nigeria, are there areas you feel the government needs to reform or probably support more.
Looking at the general health sector in Nigeria, the Government needs to invest in primary health care facilities. Equip the teaching hospitals with modern medical equipment and facilities. There is also a gap in matching the skills of the available personnel with population size and corresponding remuneration.