The Dental Wellness Trust is bringing together organisations and skilled volunteers from around the world to introduce oral healthcare to deprived communities.
Armed with educational prevention programmes and donated supplies, the Trust aims to provide emergency treatment and create long-term, sustainable healthcare solutions.
One of the Trust’s most recent projects is in conjunction with The Point Foundation, a registered charity that looks to support orphans in Africa, predominantly in Rwanda and South Africa.
Dr Itzi Weinberg, a respected dentist from Zurich, was sent to Rwanda in May to visit two orphanages: the Noel orphanage and Kimisagra.
During his two-week visit, he performed dental check ups using exam kits sponsored by Henry Schein and recorded the results to give the DWT a clear view of the children’s oral health and level of need.
“There had never been a dentist to the orphanages and most of the kids had never seen a dentist before,” says Dr Weinberg, a practising dentist and owner of a dental practice in Switzerland.
A hygienist, an assistant and a photographer helped him to perform prophylaxis, oral hygiene and document the trip by taking photographs.
They brought 1,000 toothbrushes donated by the DWT to give to the children and filled in a form for every child that was examined.
‘The children in the orphanages were of all ages but the youngest I examined were about two and a half years old,” he says. In fact, the Noel has over a hundred children less than two years of age, with some barely a few hours old. “Then I started with the personnel working there. I found that there is a need; I saw gum disease and decay. There is a lot to do.’
Dr Weinberg and his team also taught prevention to the children. There was a bit of a language barrier, but he found a lot could be achieved with ‘a smile, a sticker, toothbrush and toothpaste to each child’, to get the basic message across.
The next step is for Dr Weinberg to make a report based on the information he’s gathered. “I think a lot can be done,” he says.
‘There’s a good foundation there so I hope something’s going to be built up on that.’
The Dental Wellness Trust is calling for more volunteers like Dr Weinberg, who have the compassion and clinical skills to transform the quality of life for people who have nowhere else to turn.
‘If I can do it, everyone can do it. Anyone can take two weeks a year and go somewhere in the world they are needed.”
If you would like to volunteer or if you are a company wanting to demonstrate corporate responsibility by making a donation or gifts in kind, please visit www.dentalwellnesstrust.org or call 020 7267 7070 or email email@example.com.