Den-Tech sets up its first donated dental laboratory in Uganda
October saw Den-Tech’s long-awaited trip to Uganda to set up a dental laboratory in the Destiny medical centre in Wakiso town.
Den-Tech is a dental charity that focuses primarily on restoring the patient’s dentition by the provision of dentures and occasionally crowns and bridges through its network of volunteer dental laboratories in the UK. In the UK they provide services for our homeless, domestic abuse victims and our veterans. Abroad they focus on providing dental laboratory equipment, training, and ongoing support to enable local communities to provide sustainable dental services for themselves. To offer a hand up, not just a handout.
The destiny Medical Centre was founded by GP Dr Dee Weevil and is situated in the grounds of the Kampala Children’s Centre. Work started in 2015 on the building work and when complete it aims to provide general outpatient care, dispensing of medication, dental clinic & dental laboratory services, eye clinic, antenatal clinic, family planning clinic, postnatal care, paediatric immunisations, radiology facilities and a HIV clinic to the communities of the Wakiso and Kampala areas.
A team of 14 volunteers went over for 2 weeks to complete as much of the work as possible and set up the dental and ophthalmology services. 3 of these members were from Den-Tech, Andrea Johnson-Trustee board Chair, Andrew Sinclair – Trustee board Vice Chair and Parul Gandhi who is the incoming Den-Tech CEO.
Uganda is always a very challenging environment to work in due to the climate and the poor infrastructure amongst other reasons. The team worked 11–12 hour days every day over the 2 weeks with only 1 day of rest. Most days they experienced power cuts that would last for hours and at time and had to work in the dark with just head torches to light their way. Thank goodness for cordless drills!
On the second week the teams ran both dental and ophthalmology outreach clinics in the local area for 2 days. The dental outreach clinic was set up in a tent and the Den-Tech team were joined by 3 Ugandan dental staff. Over the 2 days they saw 117 patients, extracted 99 teeth, carried out 21 fillings and made 7 dentures.
It is such a privilege to be able to retore the dentition of some of the most needy patients in these situations who would not otherwise be able to access or afford dental treatment and especially not dentures. From the 21 year old who had lost 4 of his anterior teeth in a motorbike accident who said he felt that he would now have a future where he could be loved and taken seriously when applying for jobs, to the lady who could once again eat a varied and healthy diet. Every patient was incredibly grateful and felt this would have a life changing effect for them.
The lab set up was only made possible through the generous donations of equipment from our techs around the country who we thank from the bottom of our hearts and with additional thanks to Alistair Mayoh from Kemdent who also very kindly donated some wax.If you wish to know more about Den-Tech or offer your support in anyway, please go to www.den-tech.org