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4th February 2020 | Careers

A lasting legacy of dental access

Our Clinical Charity, Bridge2Aid, has provided dental care and training in rural areas of Tanzania since 2004.

Every year, {my}dentist funds two of our team to travel to Tanzania and train rural clinical officers in vital dentistry skills in order to serve their community.

The most recent clinician to travel with the charity was Keith McClean of {my}dentist Sunderland Road, who travelled to the Mara region.

Keith-with-clinical-worker

He said: “Our journey involved three flights and a six-hour coach journey north, around the side of the Serengeti National Park and towards the Kenyan Border. The noise, the heat, the smell, the colours and general craziness of it all take a little getting used to, but we’d made it with all our luggage, and we were excited to get started with the training program.”

Many of the team Keith was training were already providing other medical services in their local communities, attending the programme during the day then continuing on to their other responsibilities including delivering babies!

The clinics in Tanzania are basic, reflecting the conditions in which the clinical officers will be working in after the completion of the programme. During the training period alone Keith and team were managing to treat around 100 patients a day, many of whom had travelled up to 20km on foot with no food or water.

“We treated a whole range of patients during the programme many of whom had been suffering pain for many years. Tragically we came across two patients with undiagnosed stage 4 oral cancer and we had the difficult task of informing them and arranging some basic palliative care.

“The Rorya district was an area which didn’t have any dental provision at all before our programme. Now there will be six officers who will be able to manage patients’ dental pain and hopefully advanced cancer cases will be identified at a much earlier stage.

“It was great being able to watch the clinical officers progress over the training programme and we were all very impressed with their ability to learn difficult skills over such a short period. It was rewarding to report that all the clinical officers graduated from the course and they should all be extremely proud of themselves.

“It was a privilege to be invited to help the Tanzanian people and to leave a sustainable, lasting legacy. The UK and local team members on the ground in Tanzania are an inspiring and dedicated group of people and help ensure that Bridge2Aid continues to go from strength to strength. Lastly, I would like to thank {my}dentist who were the generous sponsors of my trip and the support of my own team at Sunderland Road Dental Practice who have been as enthusiastic as ever throughout.”

As well as funding trips for clinicians, {my}dentist has now raised more than £150,000 for Bridge2Aid. For more information about Bridge2Aid visit www.bridge2aid.org

End-of-the-trip

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