Already week 4! We just finished up with our 2nd free dental community clinic at Nkoaranga Hospital last week! (It ran on Wednesday and Thursday) We had so many people coming in to see us to receive urgent dental care which we were more than happy to provide. With the help of the hospital secretary – Jeremiah – Jeremy, Tara and I had sent out a letter regarding the free camps to approximately 50 different churches and communities well in advance to inform them of the dates and the clinic where we would render treatment.
It was probably the soaring success of the 1st camp the week before that word got out and we had close to a 100 people from all adjoining villages come see us over the 2 free-clinic days. Unfortunately, on both days we did not have electricity during the morning half and had to strain our necks and backs and work under the luminescence of our headlamps. That also meant that the turnover time for getting back our instruments back from the sterilizer/oven would be prolonged. We did manage to complete a few difficult extractions in less-than-ideal illumination , but we got the job done.
Jeremy did a fantastic job sifting and triaging patients and redirecting traffic with the help of Godlove(our very charismatic translator) for Tara and I, based on whether they may need a ‘surgical’ procedure or not as I was manning the only dental chair which had the necessary instruments and drills attached. Tara took on extractions and ART (Atraumatic restorative technique -ie fillings) in Dr. Frank’s waiting room like a veteran. I don’t know how she managed to treat so many patients on a simple wooden chair but I’m sure her neck/back needed some tlc after such a long rewarding day.
Christine, Shannon and Chloe took turns helping us out – getting our instruments cleaned and ready, setting up our work stations, giving moral support to our patients, which was such a big help. I don’t think we would have run our clinic as well and as smoothly as it did if it wasn’t for their contributions. If nursing doesn’t work out for them, they will make dynamite dental assistants. Travis and Shaylan even popped in to lend a hand when they weren’t busy with medical rounds or sorting out details for later visits at local orphanages.
After a well worth but tiring 2 days, a 103 very grateful patients and 3 groaning stomachs, we clocked in close to 20 hours of really rewarding work. I couldn’t be happier with our stint at Nkoaranga and the rewards which came along with it.
Rahul aka Rahooligan
Outside of the Dental Unit, where locals waited for treatment
Jeremy getting assistance from Travis in the “waiting room” before he threw out his back and became the head of triage.