FOR humanitarian project (Rapa Nui): Why the Easter Island was chosen - Part I
A major health concern of Rapa Nui’s indigenous population is the high incidence of edentulism, which is irreversible and often correlated with other systematic diseases if not treated.
With just three resident dentists, the isolated population of approximately 7800 inhabitants lacks access to adequate dental care. Rapa Nui’s remote location leaves most patients requiring procedures of medium or high complexity to go untreated. Studies conducted by Smithsonian Institute and Wyoming University state that this island population has the worst dental health in the Pacific area. Consequently, a disproportionate percentage of persons over 60 years of age are edentulous or suffer from failing dentition.
This can have repercussions that extend beyond oral health as stated by renown oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Ruben Rosenberg who partnered with Dr. Higuchi to realize a life-changing humanitarian FOR project on Easter Island “Patients suffering severe tooth loss in the mandible often lack the ability to maintain proper nutrition”.