75% of Tanzania's population live in the rural areas. BUT
90% of Tanzania's dental personnel live in cities!
The Tanzanian government solution is to train their Clinical Officers in Emergency Dentistry, and B2A are helping to achieve that.
Clinical Officer Training in Emergency Dentistry
The health care team best placed to deliver basic dental services to the large rural populations of the region (and indeed the majority of the nation) are the rural Clinical Officers (COs). They are responsible for the provision of all basic medical services in thousands of small dispensaries and health centres across Tanzania. If you need a vaccination, a wound to be stitched, a baby to be delivered and pretty much anything else - the CO is your nearest answer. Their current training programme does not contain any practical dental aspect.
In partnership with the regional government, B2A have developed a 9 day intensive training course in Urgent Dental Treatment for Rural Clinical Officers. The course comprises two elements:
1) A 3 day residential course funded by B2A. COs receive theoretical instruction from their District Dental Officer.
2) A 6 day intensive practical course, based in rural villages, where COs are trained one-to-one by volunteer UK dentists travelling to the region as part of the Dental Volunteer Programme (DVP).
The course now runs four times a year. In the 5 years since the programme began, B2A have trained and equipped over 120 COs in the region, providing access to emergency dentistry to a population of over 1,200,000 people.
Bridge2Aid funds these courses mainly through donations from the UK, and partly through the profits of Hope Dental Centre.
Taking part in a DVP is a life-changing experience. Many of our volunteers come out time after time! If you have one years' post-graduate experience, you could apply to be a part of a DVP in 2011. Experienced dental nurses are also encouraged to apply, as they play a vital role in the delivery of the programme.
For more information click here to visit our DVP page. To receive an application form in the post, or for answers to specific questions, please email Ruth Bowyer, our Visits Co-ordinator, or telephone her on 07748 643006. Written enquiries/completed forms should be sent to the Bridge2Aid office.