Here are some photos of the mission to Guatemala. This mission was supported by the W.J. Spence ICD Memorial Foundation. This is what donations to the Foundation accomplish.
Below is the report of my dental mission trip to Guatemala, 2018.
Prior to discussing details of the Guatemala visit 2018, I would like to remind you that this Guatemala project is not a new project, in fact it has been an ICD supported project since 2008. Between 2008- 2012, I have made 5 trips to Guatemala. During this time, with the support of ICD I was able to open a dental clinic, elementary schools in the surrounding villages and purchased land for training the local people in various professional trades.
Guatemala has the largest Mayan population in Central America, with the majority residing in deep mountainous remote areas inaccessible to medical and dental services. The readily available supply of sugar cane and home brewed soda drinks compounds dental issues; resulting in a high DMFT rate. Rampant and severe caries, oral infections and edentulism are common presenting issues.
The main purpose of Dental Mission Guatemala 2018 trip was;
1. To revisit the current dental clinic in San Pedro Carcha, re-assess the condition of the dental clinic and upgrade some of the main equipment.
2. Provide dental services to surrounding villages of San Pedro Carcha.
3. Re-establish local contacts for advice on implementing a plan for an incoming dental team to visit Guatemala in 2019-2020.
Aside from working in the dental clinic, I visited villages within a perimeter of 1-hour driving distance from Carcha. Singlehandedly, I was able to treat on average 40 patients/day doing extractions only. During my entire trip I was able to serve approximately 150 patients and extracted approximately 300 teeth. Interestingly, none of these patients had any restorations or signs of pre-existing dental work.
I was deeply saddened to see many young patients by the age of 7-years old already loosing permanent teeth. A pressing and apparent need is to establish an effective dental education program for Mayan people living in remote areas. One way to address this problem is through collaboration with the local dentists and the dental school in Guatemala. During this trip, I had a chance to visit the national University, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. I am hoping to set up same the relationship we created with Zimbabwe so next year when a team visits Guatemala, we can arrange an educational seminar for the University and local dentists.
I also had a chance to meet another missionary who is opening a technical & trade school. We discussed the possibilities of opening dental lab/denture school. Given the high edentulous rate, the need for skilled dental technicians with denture knowledge can definitely help their nation in dentistry.
It is with my utmost gratitude that I express my sincere thanks to the ICD for your generosity, your confidence in my work and your commitment investing in the dream of making a better world for those underprivileged people of Guatemala.