Brighton, United Kingdom, June 21, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- As National Smile Month ends in the UK, Work the World Dental Outreach 2010 have set their sights further afield, aiming to raise awareness in rural Africa and Asia, targeting areas that have little or no understanding of oral healthcare. Run as a non-profit venture, the clinical student programmes run two-week intensive screening sessions, offering free treatment to those with problems at a makeshift dental clinic equipped with tools and chairs brought from the city. Under the supervision of qualified local dentists, students will perform as much of the work as possible. This is an opportunity for those studying dentistry to gain on the job experience whilst utilising their skills in countries that desperately need them.
Student Clare worked in India in 2009. “After three days we had screened 500 children and referred 300 for treatment at the local hospital. The majority of them had never experienced any dental care and although they never complained of any pain, it was clear when we saw their swollen gums and extreme tooth decay that they must have been in discomfort for weeks. It highlighted the extreme lack of dental care and awareness.”
The Dental Outreach projects are run by Work the World, the UK’s leading provider of healthcare electives in Africa, Asia and South America. Omar Mohamed, Work the World’s Managing Director commented “the idea is for students to gain experience working alongside dental professionals from resource-poor countries, whilst at the same time benefitting rural communities in the countries in which our elective programmes are based. We have put an enormous amount of groundwork into our 2010 projects and as a result have been able to support the dental research work of some of our overseas partners, ensuring that we direct our projects into the neediest areas and provide sustainable oral healthcare programmes.”
Work the World Ghana’s Programme Manager Joe Anane commented, “the findings prove the Ashanti Region has the highest prevalence of oral disease in the country, but unfortunately there is only one dental clinic in the region and it has been closed since 1968. This year our hard work has paid off and working with Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital we have managed to agree with the hospital chief that if we bring attention to oral health and the dental clinic in Jakobu, he will employ a dentist full time.”
Along with helping the community, another benefit for students is the opportunity to identify advanced cases and diseases that often only appear in text books at home. Richard worked in Zanzibar in 2009 and found [i]“over two weeks an increasing number of local adults started turning up - they heard we were in the area. They had gross caries and required multiple extractions. There were also some advanced pathologies that had been left untreated, many of which I had only ever come across in textbooks. The guidance of local professionals taught me more about dealing with these than any lecture could have”.
For their overseas dentists the projects are a big step forward in the battle for dental health awareness in their country. Dr Smitha, Manager of Amrita Dental Clinic and the India Project Leader said [i]“many people in India do not know that habits like chewing tobacco damage teeth. The projects motivate them to stop and be conscious of hazards of disease. Last year we spotted the early signs of oral cancer in one man and were able to refer him for treatment. I think this close call will be a message to his community.”
The Dental Outreach Projects will last for two weeks each and begin in Ghana, India and Nepal on 21st June, with a second project on 12th July and a third project in Nepal on 2nd August. The Zanzibar project commences on 5th July with a second project on 26th July. Latest statistics will be available on Work the World’s website www.worktheworld.co.uk .
Notes to Editors
- Work the World focus on providing safe, structured placements tailored to individual clinical interests.
- Work the World’s 2010 partners are:
Kerala, India: Nims Dental Clinic, Amrita Dental Clinic
Ashanti region, Ghana: Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), School Health Education Programme (SHEP), Chief Dentist of Ghana
Zanzibar, Tanzania: Kivunge Cottage Hospital.
Gandaki region, Nepal: Western Regional Hospital, Kantipur Dental Hospital, Ministry of Health and Population
Partner research projects include: A study of dental health in the Ashanti Region, Ghana - Dr Kari-Kari and Komfe Anokye Teaching Hospital, and Dental Problems in the North A Region of Zanzibar -Dr Juma, Kivunge Hospital, Tanzania.
- The cost of a dental outreach placement is 1290 pounds Sterling - 1590 pounds Sterling. To date, all monies have been reinvested into the ongoing work of the projects.
- Work the World is a UK registered company. For more information visit http://www.worktheworld.co.uk