Incidence of periodontal diseases and cancrum oris (a devastating infectious disease which destroys the soft and hard tissues of the oral and para-oral structures) were prevalent and are still common in Nigeria. This, according to Dental Therapists’ Registration Board of Nigeria (DTRBN) was due to poor oral hygiene and lack of good nutrition in the early fifties. Accordingly, the high demand for oral healthcare led to an increase in the awareness of the importance and the use of preventive measure. This brought about the birth of Dental Therapy profession.
Lasisi Funke Ifebuche, the Founder of Funliving Foundation; a graduate of Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu is currently leading #yoursmilemypriority. She speaks to GrassRoots.ng’s, Sandra Nnamemeka on the drive and how she developed interest in this area. Excerpt.
GRGuest: Can we have a peep into your background
Lasis: I am Lasisi Funke Ifebuche by name. I’m from Oyo state. I attended Holy child Nursery and Primary School, form Nursery to primary 4; completed my primary school at Airforce Nursery and Primary School, Independence Layout, Enugu. My secondary school was Command Day secondary school, Abakpa Military Cantonment, Enugu and my higher education was at Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu; where I obtained my HND certificate.
GRGuest: What motivated you to becoming a Dentist?
Lasis: Funny enough I never planned studying a medical course (smiles), but among all the medical courses, I just had this love for dentistry. Maybe, because it’s rare and not rampant like medicine and as God will have it He gave me a course that was going to be in line with what He wanted me to do in life for Him. The motivation to keep up with this course grew with time and my passion developed and got stronger when I observed with experiences that this part of the world, Nigeria and Africa at large aren’t so enlightened which got me pushing and taking care of people’s teeth and oral health got me fulfilled one way or the other (#yoursmilemypriority)
GRGuest: When did you start the biz?
Lasis: I started my business officially on oral health this January.
GRGuest: How has the business sustained you financially?
Lasis: Being a dental therapist is fun, talking about finances, I’ve been able to make some good cash from my profession. Atleast I can carter for my daily basic needs, and grow my foundation.
GRGuest: Is your biz on social media? If yes what media handles are you leveraging on?
Lasis: Yes, my business is on social media. Facebook – smilecare clinic. Instagram handle is @smilecare_clinic. I’m also running a promo for the first 25 followers on the page. Followers will get free consultancy and services at a discounted price. I’m also mobile, to book for appointments you can get us on >> 07081692060
GRGuest: How old are you? We realised you run a foundation, what isn’t all about?
Lasis: I’m 22+, will be 23 this October by God’s special grace. Yes I do have a foundation whose name is @funliving foundation. Now the birthing of the foundation was inspired by the passion and vision of helping children(abandoned) and less privileged, especially the children, cause I feel when a child is affected, the adult is affected in the long run which are the causes of the touts in our society today, unhappiness and so on,. Also the passion I’ve got to enlighten people on their oral health also inspired me as I thought of being of help by rendering my services as a dental therapist to schools, communities, corporate organizations. In the long run the foundation has got the intentions of empowering youths, adults in the best way we can.
GRGuest: How can one access your services? What are your charges like?
Lasis: Dental therapy is one of the branches of dentistry which is known as preventive dentistry, so as a dental therapist I render preventive services that is identifying and stopping the progression of oral diseases and these services include- scaling and polishing(washing of teeth), oral health instructions , diet instructions, gum/gingivae treatment.
First of all before a client is charged based on the rate of deposits and condition of the individuals oral health and also Since we’re mobile(that is rendering our services @your doorstep), we charge based on the location. But u can be sure that we’re affordable
GRGuest: How often do you advice we have oral treatment and what are the basic tools to acquire for a healthy oral care?
Lasis: It is advised that everyone not restricted to adults alone especially children should visit the dental clinic twice a year that is every 6 months. Some people might ask why?? Even when they are no deposits seen? Now for instance oral conditions like malocclusion which is when the teeth of a child is protruding can be corrected easily before adulthood which wouldn’t have been so., and the accumulation of the oral deposits especially in kids due to the nature of things they eat at their age will be reduced which helps reduce bad breath and other oral diseases and improves our oral health.
To maintain a good oral health one should buy toothpaste which contains fluoride, good toothbrush (for adults – medium texture and children – soft), use of dental floss. They are so many but let me stop here for now
GRGuest: In the next 3yrs will you still be in this biz? Can you brief us your intentions with this business or is it a temporary thing or long term vision?
Lasis: Wow! Talking about this profession, I’m in it full time. In 3years time I see myself having one of the best dental clinics and will improve myself because I’ll like to further in dental therapy
I also see myself going global by impacting lives through my foundation.
GRGuest: What can you say about the knowledge gained in school, would you say the education system in Nigeria fetched you wealth of experience in this field?
Lasis: The knowledge I gained in school has really helped me. At least I’m now a certified dental therapist which I wouldn’t have become without the knowledge I gained, the educational system in Nigeria isn’t so impressive cause I remember back in school days, some people will stand while some will sit to receive lectures that would last for hours and a whole lot of it. I’ll say that it takes a willing heart and a teachable spirit to learn. But all the same I’m grateful to my alma mater for impacting in me so much knowledge about oral health and also about other areas of life. Thanks FCDT&T, Enugu.
GRGuest: How often should people go for oral tests?
Lasis: Individuals, families should go for routine oral check-up twice ever year that is every 6 months
GRGuest: In developed countries people usually have budgets for things like this, but in Nigeria what’s your observation?
Lasis: This is so true. I observed in a country like Germany, the dental professionals are paid so well even more than the nurses. Insurance for oral health abroad is expensive compared to general health. But in Nigeria especially the eastern side, it isn’t valued at all. People only come to the clinic when they have tooth ache or a swollen jaw which wouldn’t have been so. The reasons I think oral health isn’t valued here is due to our beliefs and some myths. So observing this was one of the major reasons why my foundation was birthed, to enlighten people so that we can have a society where oral health is valued and known. This is because our mouth is the gateway to the body, what affects the mouth affects the body.
GRGuest: What are the health implications of not embarking on oral tests?
Lasis: The health implications of not going for routine dental check-up are numerous. For example dental caries(hole on the teeth), halitosis (bad breath), gum infection (gingivitis), oral cancer (yes! To those that may be surprised, there is oral cancer) etc to mention a few.
GRGuest: What should people expect from your foundation this year?
Lasis: Expectations from my foundation this year will unveil with time, but expect to see my foundation impact lives by creating better lives for them, not just through our oral health programs but also by identifying a need in an area/individual and solving it. We hope to go to all the states in Nigeria and also Africa.
GRGuest: How lucrative are job opportunities for young people in this field?
Lasis: Job opportunities are good somehow. Some challenges we face are the hospitals that pay well during our internship are very few and some don’t even pay at all which to me isn’t nice at all and then after the internship which last for a year very few maybe retained and the rest aren’t thereby they venture into other aspects of life cause the dental hospitals are very few. All this still boils down to the ignorance of oral in this part of the world.
Thank you so much grassroot for your time as well and for also giving me the opportunity to enlighten the public.
Funds, graft, taxes, others bane of entrepreneurship in Nigeria – Muyiwa
BY: Nmerichukwu Igweamaka
Folorunso Muyiwa is the Chief Executive Officer of Divergent Enterprise, the parent company of Nigeria’s biggest pig farm, PorkMoney. In this interview, he talks about the country’s investment climate, economic diversification, among other issues. Excerpts.
The Federal Government of Nigeria maintains its determination to diverse the economy, do you think that is achievable?
It is definitely achievable. The diversification of the economy is probably the only option left for development. This is because the economy continues to rely so much on crude oil. The numbers speak for themselves. Oil accounts for 80 per cent of government’s revenue and 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings. No country, especially one that is blessed with a lot of natural resources like Nigeria, can totally depend on one economic sector.
I believe that there are great opportunities for non-oil sectors to grow, and this growth has been visible since 2001. Of course, the changes cannot be very quick and the transformation will not happen overnight.
However, the Federal Government can develop different sectors by taking important steps necessary for growth to take place. We can no longer be a mono-economic country.
Could that explain why you ventured into pig farming?
The idea of PorkMoney grew out of the desire to tap into a neglected sector of the livestock farming that has the potential to create value and change the agricultural ecosystem for good. Long ago before PorkMoney was launched in 2018, I visited a pig farm in Ogun State, one of the biggest in the country, and realised how fast the pigs grew and the viability of pig farming system in general. I knew this was something I needed to be a part of and I’m glad for the decision that I took. We are currently the leading pig farming enterprise in West Africa and our achievement speaks for itself.
Did the idea of establishing PorkMoney emanate from that?
My visit to that farm was definitely a turning point for me. Before then, I was oblivious of the untapped goldmine that is pig farming.
What challenges did you encounter?
Every business comes with a few challenges. One of the challenges we constantly face is the need to micro-manage casual workers from farm handlers, managers, production managers and other workers. Many of them compromise on set standards by cutting corners, especially in meat processing and livestock welfare.
Another challenge is the religious sentiments in this part of the world towards pigs and pork products. However, this was a more pronounced problem at inception and it is dissipating with time.
Knowing the religious sensibilities of the country, did aversion to pork cross your mind?
Not at all. In as much as there is a religious proscription to the consumption of pork, we cannot ignore its usefulness and benefits to our health and nourishment and just how lucrative pig farming is. I mean, Nigeria is a major consumer of pork and 80 per cent of it is imported. This means that a lot of people enjoy this animal protein. All we are doing is localising its production.
Is it possible to alter negative public perception about pig farming?
Definitely. One of our key responsibilities is to enlighten the general public about the great side to pig farming and inform them of the many benefits of pork consumption. Somehow, our environment and the kind of information we were exposed to as a people have influenced our idea of certain things. There are a lot of things we might need to unlearn as time goes on. So by using all our platforms – our social media, our website and even our adverts, we have ensured that we always show the good sides of pig farming because they are much.
Did you consider the possible health challenges in pork breeding?
Of course, we do. However, we ensure that we take the appropriate steps to mitigate any possibility. We also take proper hygienic measures like vaccination, quarantine and biosecurity, which keep our weaners very healthy.
Are you saying there are no associated diseases?
Livestock farming comes with a risk of epidemics; but if managed properly, they can be prevented. The great thing about pigs is just how resilient they are, compared to any other livestock, to farm. They are simply incredibly disease-resilient.
Vaccines and disease surveillance have always been the bane of animal husbandry. How do you take that observation?
Livestock are very prone to diseases; hence the need to constantly take precautionary measures such as administration of vaccines and disease surveillance activities across the farm to prevent outbreaks. Very recently, China witnessed its biggest animal disease that claimed livestock and cost the country billions of dollars because of its flawed surveillance.
So it’s important for other pork-producing countries to take adequate disease surveillance and testing programmes to detect these diseases early enough and prevent a fast spread.
So far, our farm partners under our management have taken adequate measures that have seen us not witness any outbreak since our launch in 2018. We expect that with our measures, this would continue to be the case.
What would you consider the most limiting factors to entrepreneurship in Nigeria, especially for youths?
Lack of capital is one of them. Aside that the Nigerian environment is not too conducive and encouraging for budding entrepreneurs, access to funds is one of the biggest challenges for youths in business. Another is the unfavourable tax policies, poor management, corruption, lack of training and experience, poor infrastructure and lack of specialised skills to scale one’s enterprise, none of which is insurmountable for a determined person.
How would you rate Nigeria’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, compared to other countries like Malaysia?
The SME sector is the backbone of major developed economies and an important contributor to employment and economic growth. Malaysia is doing remarkably well when it comes to the business scene. About 98.5 per cent of business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs, which contribute 36.5 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 65 per cent of the employment. This is impressive. Despite the significant contribution of SMEs to the Nigerian economy (48 per cent), challenges still persist that hinder the growth and development of the sector. Some of the overriding issues are access to funding, lack of skilled manpower, multiplicity of taxes, high cost of doing business, among others. This proves that there is still much to be done.
As an entrepreneur, how did you overcome initial apprehensions, especially funding, and what areas have you exerted your ideas so far?
When I was starting out in business, I had no capital, training or resources to start my journey. The brilliant ideas were there. All that was needed to execute them was finance, which was lacking, but I had to start small and grow multiple businesses over the years till I was able to afford the capital needed to start my current pursuit.
Operation Amotekun: Southwest Govs stole out idea- Ebonyi Govt.
The Ebonyi State Government on Monday said it was the brainchild of Operation Amotekun security outfit in the South-West that was launched by governors in the region last week.
It said governors in the South-West region ‘stole’ the security idea from it, saying, “When the Governor of Kano State, muted something about this kind of security architecture in the South, recently,” he was referring to the South-East geo-political zone, in particular.
According to the State Government, until the launch of Operation Amotekun, last week, governors and leaders of the South-East zone, had had elaborate and far-reaching security meetings on how to curtail insecurity in the region, saying the South-West zone only ‘borrowed’ a leap from its South-East counterpart, in its establishment.
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Mr Stanley Emegha, stated this in a telephone interview with our Correspondent, in Abakaliki, on Monday.
Emegha, who disclosed that governors and leaders of the zone, last year, appointed Gen. Obi Umahi, to coordinate the security architecture of the region, added that much was being done to mitigate all forms of insecurity in the land.
According to him, by the end of January, the security efforts and plan of the region would have been made clearer. He added that the creation of the Ministry of Homeland Security, in Abia State, was one of the moves being made by stakeholders, to reduce crimes in the zone.
“The launch of Amotekun in the Southwest is what is already in vogue in Ebonyi State, in particular, and South-East, in general. This is so because traces of insecurity like kidnapping, car- snatching, armed robbery, etc are no longer found in Ebonyi State.
“The actual region the Governor of Kano was talking about for this security initiative, is the South-East, not the Southwest. What they have done is they have just copied what is already in existence in Ebonyi. This kind of security strategy is being put in place and has been made possible by the South-East Security Consultant, Gen. Obi Umahi (retd). But we have been silent about it because we are waiting to launch at the right time.
“Security as a technical endeavour, and that was why many efforts of governors of the zone in this regard, had not been made public. Security is a very serious thing. No dull person can be a criminal. Those who go into criminality are smart and intelligent persons. So we downplay what we do because we don’t want those we are targeting or fighting to cash in on our strategies.
“This is why we don’t disclose some of the things we put in place, in order not to create room for the criminals to strike. Currently, all the happenings in virtual all the Discos in Abakaliki metropolis, are monitored in our server room. Nobody knew when we mounted those cameras and CCTVs.”
Meet 19-year old Ebube Rebecca Okeke UniLokoja Best Graduating Student – Economics
- In this era, sorting isn’t a way out. If you run out of money, you’ll give your body and if they get tired what then do you give? – Ebube
BY: Sandra Ani
Nineteen year-old (19) Ebube Rebecca Okeke has emerged the Best Graduating Students (Department of Economic) and Best Graduating Student from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences with a CGPA of 4:71, at the Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State.
She attributed the feat to the mentorship by her mother, hard-work and prayers, stressing that she learnt a lot, not just academically but also about the environment.
GrassRoots.ng has a chat with Ebube…enjoy the dialogue
Can we meet you
My name is Ebube Rebecca Okeke, a graduate of Economics from Federal University Lokoja. I am 19 years old and I hail from Enugu State; Isi-Uzo Local Government Area to be precise.
Tell us about this big win of yours
To the glory of God; I emerged the Best graduating student from the Department of Economics and the Best graduating student from the Faculty of Arts and Social sciences with a CGPA of 4:71.
I particularly want to thank God for the grace, wisdom and strength. I also want to specially appreciate my mom; my best friend, mentor, role model and teacher. She thought me the value of hard-work, goal setting and goal getting. I’m grateful mom. To all of my lecturers, the entire staff of federal university Lokoja, my friends and family, Thank you for the support
I started this journey in the year 2015 and made straight A’s with a GP of 5.00 during my first semester in the university. That semester was tough and amazing. I learnt a lot, not just academically but also about the environment I found myself and how to make proper and beneficial decisions. I learnt the importance of relationships and diligence too. I made some pretty amazing friends, not just with students alone but with lecturers too and I’m grateful.
Every success story has bumps, but with the help of God, my family and friends I overcame. To everyone reading this, in which ever field you might be in you’ll definitely encounter challenges but don’t let it stop you, keep pushing.
To every student, read like it all depends on you, pray like it all depends on God and get a skill or develop your passion. Improve yourself mentally and other wise. The world’s changing, you should too.
How was it like growing up
I had an amazing child hood; went to the best primary and secondary schools; Spring Nursery and Primary school and Harmony Secondary school. Mom was very strict about the kind of movies and TV shows I watched; my social media activities and all that. It was annoying then, but now I’m grateful
Was there a time when teachers or mom had to force you to read?
Teachers; No. Mom; No. She basically just encouraged me, advised me and helped me through it. She was my lesson teacher. We did all my assignments together. During my undergraduate days, there were courses I didn’t really understand like Philosophy, Mom would read them and make notes/summaries for me.
In this era, some students believe it’s all about sorting, how can one stand out?
In this era, sorting isn’t a way out. If you run out of money, you’ll give your body and if they get tired what then do you give? Be diligent, don’t give the lecturers to put a negative tab on you. Attend classes, write all of your tests and assignments and submit on due dates
What’s your next plan?
To begin the real journey towards greatness. To start living and working towards my dreams and make impacts.
Thank you so much for this great opportunity and the feature.
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