Dental Camp at Itete – Kyela, Mbeya Region

This camp has been for us a model of what our Foundation and similar NGO’s should be doing in Tanzania based on demography and medical needs of each region.
It has been proven to us once again that Tanzanian population has the capacity to withstand pain and infections to an extent that our medical team has never imagined, and clearly is not described in the dental literature.
It has proven to us that it is very difficult to make an adult accept any treatment different than an extraction. In general, for them the “harm has to be removed and the harm is the tooth”. Even patients complaining about problems due to tar had a part of that tar removed the first day by a simple cleaning, and did not come back the next day for the other half.
It has proven to us that if we just go to these villages pull out 200 teeth and leave we are not going into the problem in depth as much as we would like to.
Therefore, we believe that a follow up team should shortly after the “sentinel team” visit the same areas providing conservative treatment to the kids (and adults) not requiring extractions. This team would be prepared and organized for this second phase. Nevertheless, it is our experience so far that when a kid is diagnosed with a decay he does not come back consistently for treatment following the rule No Pain – No Need.
With this scenario, the need to educate the population in deprived areas is overwhelming.
Therefore, we are structuring a program with our video production partners and the ministry of health to develop educational materials that can be shown during our camps in the waiting areas.
We also would like to promote our camps within the schools in the districts and spend one or two days educating the kids about dental care and hygiene. We deeply believe that if we educate the kids, they will go home and have a higher impact on the parents, than if we educate parents.

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