International dental charity Dentaid is searching for hard working volunteers to join its latest trip to Malawi. The team of dentists, dental nurses and therapists will travel to Malawi from April 30 – May 16, 2020 to provide emergency dental treatment and oral health education programmes for hundreds of people.
The team will be based in and around Embangweni which is two and a half hours from the capital Lilongwe. They will visit schools, community buildings and health centres providing pain relieving dental treatments, fluoride varnish programmes and oral health advice. They will be working with local dental professionals and in partnership with the Scottish-based dental charity Smileawi.
Dentaid sent a team to Malawi in April this year when eight volunteer dental professionals travelled to the remote area of Bulala. They saw 1100 patients, many of whom had were suffering dental pain and had no access to dental care.
There are fewer than 50 dentists in Malawi for a population of nearly 19 million and the team often found 100 patients waiting for treatment at the start of the day. The team also spent two days in Embangweni and team leader Nick O’Donovan is looking forward to returning to the area.
“As word spread the clinics got busy and on the second day we saw 130 people but we know we could have helped many more,” he said. “This is a bigger town than Bulala and access to dentistry is very limited. Sadly, many people need extractions to help them out of dental pain and this is our opportunity to help them. Some people walk many miles for this chance to see a dentist and they are so grateful for the care they receive. This will be an exciting, busy, unpredictable and hugely rewarding opportunity to use your skills in a completely different environment.”
The team will use portable dental chairs and pressure cookers for sterilization. They will also visit schools to run oral health and fluoride varnish programmes. The team will stay in basic guest houses and will have the chance to visit a lodge on the shore of Lake Malawi to relax and spot wildlife at the end of the trip.
Volunteers are asked to fundraise £2300 to cover the cost of their flights, accommodation, transport, meals and everything required to provided free dental care for all the patients. Dentaid can give plenty of support with this and all team members will be invited to a training day ahead of their trip.