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Posts tagged “dental volunteers”

Dental Students Visit Nepal

As part of their studies many students are offered the chance to travel to different parts of the world to help other people. It’s part of the outreach programme offered by university dental colleges.

One area which is popular is Nepal. Last year one dental student worked with others setting up a clinic in a school. Kerry told reporters: “We set up our clinic in the local secondary school. We had a room for screening and a room to provide treatment.

“Our supervisor was always on hand to help with difficult extractions or advice about treatment, which was invaluable. For our group of 12 we all treated about 6 patients a day and screened many more.”

Another student, Richard added: “Often patients had been suffering with recurrent pain and inflammation for a number of years before we were finally able to remove the source of infection. Overall, our work was greatly appreciated with patients often walking for a number of hours to receive treatment.”

The Dental Outreach programme is organised by Work the World, which operates in a number of countries across Asia and Africa. It also operates in parts of South America. Faye Stickings, Work the World’s Managing Director said: “We have put an enormous amount of groundwork into 2012, working with our partners and the community to ensure sustainability.”

Often dental equipment including chairs and tools are taken over to places like Nepal simply because these countries either don’t have any facilities whatsoever or are short of suitable materials. The outreach programme last for two weeks. This year’s events start in June with others following on in July and August.

For the students however it gives them the chance to get to see oral health problems and diseases they would not ordinarily come across at home. “The wearing down of teeth is very common … mainly from their diet. They may have worn them down to the root and then they need to be extracted,” a Dundee University dental student said.

Dentists Offer Their Services on Togo Mercy Ships

Dentists from America are well known for getting involved in charitable ventures across the USA, and more recently in poor countries. However, some are now venturing onto the high seas. Or more accurately, on Mercy Ships operating off the coast of Lomé, Togo in West Africa.

Mercy Ships are basically floating hospitals, with the primary aim of helping people who are unable to afford medical or dental treatment. One of the volunteers from the USA who decided to volunteer on a Mercy Ship is Dr. Doug Daehlin. He told reporters: “While there are lots of opportunities to be a volunteer dentist around the world, I was immediately drawn to Mercy Ships.”

He added: “During my volunteer service, I will work side-by-side with dental colleagues from other parts of the U.S. and around the world. Our collaboration and exchange is an invaluable experience.”

The dentists offer a consultation to anyone who wants one on the dockside rather than on the ship itself. Operations are carried out on the ship, which travels to other ports in between visits to Lomé. The visit to Lomé is Mercy Africa’s fifth since 1990, which may seem a rather poor visitation rate considering there are only 19 dentists in the whole of Togo. That said there are probably few ships of its type in existence and moreover they have to cover a wide geographic area travelling to many poor countries along the coast of Africa.

Anyone wishing to use a Mercy Ship does not have to pay. Patients are initially screened for treatment and if they are in need of it an appointment is given.

Welcoming the arrival of the Mercy Ship, His Excellency, Charles Kondi Agba, minister of health for Togo said: “I am pleased that for the fifth time Mercy Ships is coming to Togo and helping with their humanitarian mission. This helps the Ministry of Health and the government to help the Togolese, especially those who do not have means.”

The ship itself will remain in the area for 6 months, and volunteers are expected to carry out no fewer than 11,000 dental operations during the period. Dental practitioners also offer a range of educational ideas for Togo citizens, with particular emphasis on children. Volunteers visit schools showing children basic oral procedures to ensure they look after their teeth and mouth. Additionally, local volunteers are also taught basic oral hygiene in order to assist in helping the local population.

While people in the West often take oral health for granted, the same cannot be said for developing nations. So, Mercy Ships and other volunteer agencies are welcomed until proper medical and dental health programmes can be established.

Dentists Part of A Humanitarian Mission to Nicaragua

As well as doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals, dentists are embarking on a humanitarian mission to Esteli, Nicaragua, in August 2011.

Organised by the medical charity, IMAHelps, the volunteers will meet up towards the end of July to prepare for the venture and will depart early August for about 10 days between the 4th and 14th August.

IMAHelps have been running charitable missions such as this for the past 11 years. It was founded in 2000 and runs medical excursions annually. Starting with South America, the organisation is expanding its capabilities into other parts of the world particularly Central America and Asia.

In a previous mission to Somoto in Nicaragua last year, the charity organised no fewer than 120 cleft palate repairs, 695 dental procedures, 949 paediatric procedures and 1,465 internal medicine consultations.

As well as dental treatments, other medical conditions treated include urinary tract infections, ear aches, joint pains, stomach aches and tropical skin rashes, to name a few.

IMAHelps is able to offer help to a wide variety of people in such poor countries as Nicaragua, because of the sizeable donations from a number of benefactors. For instance the Hedco Foundation donated a grant of $38,000, while many other hospitals from Southern California have donated supplies and medical equipment.

Dentists have also clubbed together to raise much needed funds, while more well known charitable groups such as the Rotary Club have raised thousands of dollars – used to buy X-Ray equipment.

Volunteers pay for their own airfare while expenses, such as food and lodging are covered by IMAHelps.

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