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Project Details

Hasilo Nepal: Children’s Oral Health Project to Fight Child Malnutrition

Photo of young child in Nepal
Project Summary: 

Hasilo ("smiley") Nepal is a program to fight child malnutrition through oral health care services. It is modeled after a program in El Salvador that was created by UCB-UCSF Joint Medical Program Clinical Professor Dr. Karen Sokal-Gutierrez.
The Hasilo Nepal program prevents tooth decay and malnutrition by educating families about good nutrition, providing toothbrushes and toothpaste, applying fluoride varnish to children’s teeth, and referring children with severe tooth decay to local dentists for treatment. Hasilo Nepal's project team members have backgrounds in conducting interventions and evaluations in social work, medicine, dentistry and nutrition. This past January our team traveled to Nepal for the first year of this three-year program and set up five health camps in nursery schools in the Katmandu region.

Nepal is not an exception to the worldwide trend of high rates of malnutrition and decayed teeth among children. The National Center for Health Statistics stated that from 2003-2008, over 45% of children in Nepal under the age of five were moderately or severely underweight. In addition, the World Health Organization cites information from 2000 stating that approximately 67% of Nepali children who are five or six years old have tooth decay, with the average child having three to four decayed, missing, or filled teeth.

Video highlights of the Hasilo Nepal project's first two years are available:;

In 2016, the Global Children's Oral Health and Nutrition Program was featured in a Scientific American special report: The Future of Oral Health
The Global Children's Oral Health and Nutrition Program was featured in an article in the Berkeley Health Online magazine in 2014.  

For online tax-deductible donations, can be made here. Or send a check payable to "UC Berkeley Foundation" notated to "Hasilo Nepal Fund." Mail to: UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Office of External Relations, 417 University Hall #7360, Berkeley, CA 94720.

Policy, Practice or Research Impacts: 

Our ultimate goal is to assess the impact of our program and more specifically the link between oral health and nutrition. We hope that by showing that this program works in other developing countries as well as El Salvador, it can be disseminated to needy communities around the world.

Contact Person: 
Sidhanta Gurung
Contact Person's Email Address:
Health Research for Action, UC Berkeley
Principal Investigators: 
Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, MD
Self-Reliant Center (Nepal-based NGO focused on women’s and children’s health)
Multiple streams of funding. Funding for the three years of the project has been generated through monetary donations from family, friends, and organizations, and in-kind donations of oral health supplies from dental companies.
Location - Countries: