Pepsodent Dentibus & School Program

Pepsodent Dentibus & School Program

Rolled out at a national scale, BangladeshDhaka, Bangladesh
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Pepsodent Dentibus and School Program is a social project to increase awareness on the importance of oral health among the mass people of Bangladesh

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Most people in Bangladesh do not have proper oral health & hygiene practice awareness. In rural Bangladesh, the most common format of oral care product is toothpowder. Few years ago, it was black toothpowder (powder made mainly from ash). These black toothpowder provided whiteness to teeth by “rubbing off” the enamel of the teeth. As a result, people would lose their teeth and suffer from all sorts of oral health complexities. Often, these complexities would lead to other health problems. By the time they realize they require treatment, the ailment has already reached an advanced stage and the high cost of the treatment cannot be borne by them.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The primary objective of the Pepsodent Dentibus & School Program is to communicate the importance of oral health awareness, together with the proper oral hygiene practices, such as using toothpaste, using toothbrush, brushing twice a day, visiting a dentist, dietary habits, etc to the mass people of Bangladesh. Dentibus is a bus equipped with all modern dental amenities with a dentist on board, which travels to the deep rural areas of Bangladesh to provide free dental checkups to the mass people of the country , who otherwise do not have access to basic health care facilities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We believe behavioural change has to be inculcated from an early age. The best media to mould young minds is teaching at schools. The Pepsodent Dentibus and School Program team goes to specific geographies of the country and approaches the schools in that locality. Then a team of dental experts narrates an interactive story to the students in a classroom. Through that story, students are taught about dental anatomy, common oral care practices – such as brushing with toothpaste twice a day, and avoiding betel leaf and other tobacco product consumption that may harm their oral health. As the whole exercise is done in a classroom environment, it is taken in as knowledge and accepted with strong credibility. Then a classroom quiz is taken of all the students to check if the message has been transferred. After the quiz, brochures and class routine stickers are given to the students so that the messages transmitted in the classroom are also available to them in a tangible form. Post the classroom session, a free dental check up is given to the students at the dentibus and students with good oral health are given a certificate from the dentibus. After the school sessions, the team heads towards bazaars (small marketplaces) within that community, where people gather for socialising. During these sessions in the bazaars, the whole exercise is repeated, only this time the target audience are adults. This way, we ensure when a child goes home after attending the Pepsodent School Program, the parents can relate to the knowledge being shared with them.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Currently, no other peers or competitors operate to address oral health issues and promote oral hygiene in Bangladesh. However, there are other activities carried out by Pepsodent such as oral health week where dental health camps are set up all around the country and free dental checkups are given, courtesy of the support from Bangladesh Dental Society.

Founding Story

The Pepsodent Dentibus and school program was launched way back in 2005. Back then, toothpaste usage in Bangladesh was very low and household penetration was among the lowest in Asia. The idea was to come up with an innovative media to communicate with the media dark rural population (due to very low levels of electricity penetration) of Bangladesh. Therefore, choosing any mass communication tools (such as TV or radio) wouldn’t have been effective. We had to physically reach our target audience. As presence of dentists in most of rural Bangladesh was very low, it was important that an actual dentist with dental facilities be present during the program. Therefore, the “Aha” idea was to have a mini dental chamber on wheels that could access all parts of the country. The power of the idea was immediately realized as its scalability and potential to be adapted in different parts of Bangladesh and in other countries made the idea even more practical.
About You
Unilever Bangladesh Limited
About You
First Name

Abdullah Mohammed Naheyan

Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Unilever Bangladesh Limited

Organization Country

, DHA, Dhaka

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Rolled out at a national scale

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

The objective of the program is to increase awareness of oral health and hygiene and conversion from tooth-powder to toothpastes.
In terms of what we are trying to achieve can be outlined in two ways:
1. Penetration increase of toothpaste and toothbrush
2. Reduction in the degree of oral health related diseases

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

To date the program has managed to achieve its most important deliverable: penetration increase of toothpaste. Since the beginning of the Pepsodent Dentibus and School Program to date, the household penetration rate has tripled.
In terms of qualitative parameters, research shows that students attending the Pepsodent School Program go home and share their learning with their family members (mostly parents) and influence their product purchase and harmful product consumption decisions.

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

Over the next five years penetration is expected to further increase to take it up to a respectable level. The project will also work to promote twice a day brushing, which is still a message that has not been well established among the recipients.
Moving forward, once the importance of brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste twice a day is established, the people will also be informed of other advanced oral health care facilities and practices they may avail to maintain their oral health.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Due to lack of funds, scaling up the project has not been possible. Under the current modalities, one person becomes the recipient of the project once every 2 - 3 years. However, for a message to be firmly established in a person's mind, it has to be repetitively communicated.
The current project infrastructure and funding does not allow for such an expansion.
Support is being actively sought from government and non government organizations to help scale up the project or to come up with similar projects. However, to date, no support has been received and the entire project is being funded by Unilever Bangladesh Limited alone.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Reaching 1 million people all over Bangladesh within 6 months with a multiple contact modality.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Develop a communication platform to ensure multiple contact is possible.

Task 2

Increasing the number of teams by developing new human resource to ensure quantitative target of 1 million people is contacted.

Task 3

Developing modalities to enter people's homes to deliver the message, rather than delivering at in public places.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Penetration increase of toothpaste and toothbrush

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Scaling up the project with the introduction of further teams and 2 additional Dentibuses.

Task 2

Going beyond schools and bazaars to other educational institutes (such as - madrasah, orphanages, etc) and places of work

Task 3

Ensuring availability of affordable toothpaste and toothbrush to generate trial

Tell us about your partnerships

Pepsodent is the only oral care brand recommended by Bangladesh Dental Society and recognized by FDI – World Dental Federation.
Through partnerships with Bangladesh Dental Society, Pepsodent has been working for over a decade to improve oral health and hygiene in Bangladesh.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your innovation? If so, where and why?

The geographic scope of this project is currently limited to Bangladesh only. However, we strongly feel the model can be easily adapted across countries and for various causes (other than oral health & hygiene) with minimal effort.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

The existing team have a very good understanding of the specific region wise requirements of the project by gathering the experience over the years. Also, they have developed a very good network with the schools all around Bangladesh making it accessible for the project in the future.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

The biggest offer from our end is the experience, which we have accumulated over the years in running this project. Moreover, research data relevant to Pepsodent Dentibus and School Program can also be shared, which will help to clarify the impact of the project.
With established modalities, the marketing plan to promote the project can also be easily adapted.