We, meaning myself and two talented Malawian dentists, saw 96 patients in the dental clinic today. 96! And I am confident the next few days the numbers will be even higher and that’s because access to care and dental supplies is so limited here. The government dental clinics have not had any lidocaine for the past three months so they have not been able to perform any extractions. Can you imagine having to wait for months to have a painful, decaying tooth extracted?
With poor access to care, extractions are the most frequent and required treatment option for the villagers and care in these remote villages is done without electricity or running water. With the commitment of our Malawian partners and with support from my colleagues in the Us we are trying to shift that paradigm. Each year that I have returned to this community we have brought additional materials and equipment to support more treatment options. In 2014 we were only able to provide extractions and we did so with patients sitting in two plastic lawn chairs.
Today we have three Asceptico dental chairs a generator and portable dental hanoieces. This year we added a portable cavitron machine which will allow us the ability to clean teeth and treat periodontal disease. We also brought restorative materials for doing dental fillings meaning we can repair teeth instead of extract them. All of this equipment is used during monthly dental clinics run by VIP. It’s exciting and invigorating to impact such critical needs and to do so in a great partnership with my Malawian dental colleagues. It’s time for bed now though because hundreds will be waiting tomorrow.