Wednesday, 1 April 2009

off site visits - Benin Smiles (dental team)

The dental team is based at the Medical Clinic in Avotrou, Akapakpa, operating Monday-Friday. Somehow this clinic got built and then there was no funding for it to actually run so Mercy Ships has permission to use the site for our dental team, who are joined by the eye team on Fridays. This was a nice (but noisy) place to work and seemed very calm compared to the queues we had already seen at the eye clinic. Screening happens here twice a week and patients are scheduled for treatment in between. They have increased the numbers of patients from 30 a day to over a hundred a day, but it does depend largely on the experience of the dentists working. Over the last couple of weeks we met a lovely British dentist who told us a little more about how African teeth are much harder to extract due to their bone density being different and was ready for bed early each night after a hard days work. That is not a job I envy at the best of times, certainly not in a country with limited toothbrushes.

Their goal is to reduce the incidence of dental disease by providing dental education and treatments. Over the outreach they estimate they will provide dental care for 11, 500 people (19, 000 procedures) plus they offer a hygiene service, dental education to school children and aim to train 20 teachers of oral health and 2 Beninese dental assistants and dental hygiene instructors.


people waiting to be seen, already screened with appointments for today

more people waiting

our friend Roseann working in the sterilising room

part of the room where up to 6 patients can be seen at once, it gets pretty busy as each patient has a dentist, assistant and a translator! This was a quieter moment, a couple of minutes before and we could hardly get in the room!

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