Fellows Gloria Tyler and Bill Tyler led of a team of 21 (7 dentists, 1 denturist and 13 auxilliary volunteers) to Grace Academy in Ndola Zambia, March 2018. Grace Academy is a boarding school/orphanage and is the home for 170 orphaned children (primarily HIV +) with ages from birth through young adulthood and approximately 80 support staff. The children brought to this orphanage have typically come from situations of extreme poverty, malnutrition and significant disease. Dental care was not an option as survival was the priority. Through the love and health care given at the home, the children are in fact surviving, are being educated and are provided with dental care through our trips.
The clinic this year ran for 2 weeks. The dental equipment for Grace Academy was provided over the years by the Rotary Clubs of Mission. All of the school age children, the care givers, school staff, people in the community as well as the elderly in the Grandmas Program were treated. This was the 6th trip led by the Tylers to this location and this is typically the only dental care these people receive. The last dental trip was 4 years ago, many were repeat patients but a significant number of the patients had never seen a dentist before. The dentistry provided included hundreds of restorations, extractions, dentures, endodontics, preventive care, scaling and most important – personalized oral hygiene instruction to every child and caregiver. Periodontal disease was extreme amongst those never having dental care before, even in the very young. The need was endless, the smiles so rewarding.
Markus Fischer, the denturist on the team was by far the most popular. He provided dentures/partial dentures to people who had missing teeth (mostly anterior teeth) for years. His treatment was life changing.
Side trips to the local hospital to provide necessary hygiene supplies as well as recreational outings with the children were included in our itinerary. A highlight was taking 100 of the older children to a 4 nation soccer match – we were equally excited to go as when could you see such a match for $2. The challenge was keeping 100 over the top excited children contained and accounted for at the end of the games.
The Tylers and the entire dental team thank the ICD for providing funds to purchase the needed supplies to help make this trip possible.