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Hola readers! Sorry for the delay in posting, our last two days in Honduras were really busy but so fulfilling and exciting. Our last two clinics in Honduras were definitely the highlights of the trip because our medical, dental and pharmacy teams got to partner with the Honduran physicians, dentists and nurses. We worked together seamlessly and it was such a wonderful experience to be able to collaborate as a multi disciplinary team.
Our fourth clinic was held in a beautiful village tucked into the base of the mountainside. We arrived with our 'brigada' of three trucks, one SUV and an Ambulance and were warmly welcomed.
The atmosphere in this village was peaceful and the school was beautifully organized to accommodate us. They had a separate room for the Farmacia and for the Clinica Pediatrica and they even had an extra house ready for the Dentista! There were throngs of people waiting so we unpacked our supplies and got straight to work!
One very common complaint that the medical team heard from mothers was that their child won’t eat. Most of the time this was because the child had rotting teeth that were infected and so painful that they weren’t able to eat. Imagine starving not from lack of food, but from not being able to chew your food.
The dental team was kept very busy and their first port of call was to establish school tooth brushing campaigns for children in grades kindergarten to eight. A tooth brushing campaign involves giving each child a toothbrush and toothpaste and teaching them how to brush their teeth. It also involves encouraging teachers to set aside a specific time each day to monitor tooth brushing. It was amazing to see that something as simple as a toothbrush brought so much joy to the children. A company called Sunstar made the toothbrushes/toothpaste available at a reduced and were bought and donated by a group of dentists from London Ontario.
Needless to say the bulk of dentistry practice in Honduras consists of extractions. However, a new technique called ART (atraumatic restorative treatment) has been proven to be very effective in developing world countries for decreasing the number of extractions. ART involves using tools to scrape out early decay and fill it with a glass ionomer material that sets without water.
It was amazing to see the surprise on the children’s faces when they realized they weren’t at the dentist to have their teeth pulled but instead “ARTed”! They were even happier when they got to choose a toy from Dr. Friedmans box of surprises.
Overall it was an amazingly successful day, we provided 175 children with free medical and dental care as well as providing them with the medications they needed thanks to our generous sponsors and donors. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us make this mission an overwhelming success, we couldnt have done it without your help!
Hasta Mañana Readers,
The 2014 Honduras Medical and Dental Team