Dr Nicoline Potgieter and Dr Tshepiso Mfolo of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) School of Dentistry in the Faculty of Health Sciences were recently appointed president and vice-president respectively of the Paedodontic Society of South Africa (PSSA), a non-profit organisation.
Dr Potgieter heads UP’s Division of Paediatric Dentistry in the Department of Odontology and Dr Mfolo is a lecturer in the Department of Community Dentistry at the School of Dentistry.
“My teaching philosophy at UP is to bring an open mind, a positive attitude, strong ethical standards and high expectation to the classroom and clinical wards,” says Dr Potgieter. “I owe it to my students and the community we serve to bring excellence, diligence and passion to my daily duties so that I can inspire and encourage such traits in students by applying a behaviourism teaching model.”
Their commitment to promoting optimum oral health for children is reflected in their research, tertiary education duties and community outreach programmes. They now hope to make a positive contribution through their new roles.
“Paediatric dentistry has become a critical field in density, with growing support and innovation internationally, especially through the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry,” Dr Potgieter added. “It is not yet recognised as a specialist field in South Africa. As head of the PSSA and the Division of Paediatric Dentistry, I am working with colleagues from other universities to have paediatric dentistry recognised as a speciality in SA. In the meantime, I will pursue a PhD and postgraduate diploma in teaching.”
Dr Nicoline Potgieter and Dr Tshepiso Mfolo of the School of Dentistry in the Faculty of Health Sciences were recently appointed president and vice-president of the Paedodontic Society of South Africa.
The PSSA aims to promote optimum oral health among children by organising annual continuing professional development (CPD) events, educational congresses and outreach programmes. In 2023, the organisation will host the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry’s congress in Cape Town.
“I aim to use this new role and platform to foster collaboration with other maternal child health service providers to achieve optimum integration,” says Dr Mfolo. “[This will involve] implementing oral health promotion at antenatal centres and targeting mothers who are in the prenatal stage to create awareness around children’s teeth at an early stage. I will also network, engage, share critical information and best practices with students, colleagues and patients, and work with members of the PSSA in getting paediatric dentistry recognised as a speciality in South Africa and seek affiliation with similar paediatric international organisations.”
Dr Mfolo added that early childhood care is a global public health problem, especially in developing countries like South Africa. This is mainly due to the high prevalence, severity and public demand for services. The disease is preventable, therefore a shift from a curative approach to a more preventive approach would help to alleviate the disease burden.
Get Social With Us
Download the UP Mobile App