Compassionate Dental Care International, Inc

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Beach Party at the Papbst
Fundraiser at the Pabst Brewery, February 15th, 2013 (more details to follow)
Benefit for Compassionate Dental Care International 2013 Dominican Republic Mission Trip


More details and ticket sales coming soon!

Upcoming participants for Dominican Republic Mission Trip
March 9-16, 2013

Toni Roucka
Angel Villarreal
“Scuba” Steve Jones
Tammy Boudry
Katie Kircher
Sofya Kats
Pat Longo
Heather Harris
Allie Hubble
Kate Boland
Christa Rodenas
Ashley Barnes
Jen Sinnen
Kevin Greene
Malorie Bohnart


 


 

 

     
     
Helping the 'neediest of needy'
New program will bring dental care to refugees in Tanzania
Posted April 6, 2007
By Stacie Crozier

Kigoma, Tanzania—All that was supposed to happen was a tooth getting pulled.
Instead, in early 2005, a refugee living in a long-term camp in Western Tanzania died.

His death at a nearby hospital from a severe infection of the face and neck that developed after a fellow refugee pulled his tooth inspired a local priest to take action.

Fr. Paul Flamm, a Catholic missionary with the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, or the Spiritans, was disturbed by the dire need for dental care in Tanzania's refugee camps. He contacted the ADA Center for International Development and Affairs for help.
 
Working toward smiles: Children in a Tanzanian refugee camp pause for a photo after receiving oral health education, oral care supplies, school supplies and soccer balls from ADA, HVO and CDC site visitors in March 2006.

In less than two years, the ADA—with help and support from the Colgate-Palmolive Co., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Volunteers Overseas, the International College of Dentists, the faculty of dentistry at Muhimbili University, the Tanzania Dental Association and the nongovernmental organization Dentaid—is coordinating the delivery of dental equipment to Tanzania so two refugee camps will be able to provide dental care on-site.

And, by this summer, HVO will be able to establish a volunteer program for U.S. dentists to provide care, and later develop a training program that will help meet refugees' dental health needs in the future.

"Fr. Flamm's request for help necessitated a site visit to determine how we could best help the refugees," says Helen Cherrett, CIDA director. "The ADA has been patiently working behind the scenes and now the project is starting to come together."

Ms. Cherrett credits the Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Dr. Anthony Volpe, vice president, Scientific Affairs, for providing a grant of $20,000 to cover the cost of conducting the first-ever site visit and dental health assessment of a long-term refugee camp by a team of ADA, HVO and CDC personnel.

"We are so grateful for the visionary leap they made to get the project started," she says. "From there, we were able to make recommendations and propose a four-phase program for HVO to establish a volunteer/training program."

"The Colgate-Palmolive Co. was very honored to be a partner with the American Dental Association with regard to its humanitarian children's oral health educational initiative in Tanzania," said Dr. Volpe. "The ADA and Colgate share the joint vision of reducing dental disease in children across the world by teaching them proper oral hygiene practices."

Site visit and assessment team members who traveled to Tanzania in March 2006 included Ms. Cherrett; Dr. Eugenio Beltrán, CDC Division of Oral Health; Dr. Martin Hobdell, member, ADA/HVO Steering Committee; Dr. Freder Jaramillo, health scientist, CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health ¬ Promotion; and Dr. Valerie Robison, chief, CDC surveillance team for the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination.
"I think this was a pioneer work in many aspects," says Dr. Beltrán. "It is the first oral health assessment of population groups living for more than 10 years in refugee camps. Also, there are a lot of ADA members who have expressed their desire to volunteer overseas. This is one place where small contributions will make tremendous effects because there is so much unmet need. Refugee communities live in very humble environments; they receive food, shelter and health care, but attending to their oral health problems is not considered a priority. They can't work and earn a living to pay for other goods and services, something we take for granted in other parts of the world. Thus, it is not surprising that after 10 years living in these conditions that oral health becomes an issue."

"We identified the prevalence and severity of dental caries and periodontal diseases in refugees and recommended appropriate preventive and control measures to be implemented by the ADA and HVO in a future project," says Dr. Jaramillo. The next step, he says, is for the ADA and HVO to implement training and volunteer opportunities in the camps.

The site visitors also spent time teaching oral hygiene to students in the refugee camps, distributed thousands of toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste and "also gave well-appreciated gifts of notebooks, pens and soccer balls to the some 5,000 secondary students in the Mtabila and Muyovozi camps," says Fr. Flamm. The school supplies and balls were purchased with donations by ADA employees.

 
Upgrade: Refugees will soon be able to receive dental care on-site in a real dental chair instead of the wooden one above.
"On behalf of the refugee community and their Tanzanian hosts, we would like to express our deep gratitude to the members of the site assessment team for the generous gift of their time and energies, as well as to all at the ADA, the CDC, the HVO, the Colgate Palmolive Co., and Dr. Anthony Volpe in showing their concern for their well-being by making this intervention possible," adds Fr. Flamm. "We look forward with great hope to the planned future interventions which will no doubt make a significant contribution to the improvement of dental care for the people in the camps and in the surrounding villages."

Fr. Flamm says that the latest statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees agency show a current population of about 65,000 in the Mtabila and Muyovozi camps. "The vast majority of them have lived here in exile for over 10 years."
Although thousands of refugees are expected to be repatriated by the end of 2007, there will still be about 40,000 refugees remaining at the end of this year.

The refugees, he adds, receive "a meager bi-weekly distribution of food aid, free health care and free primary school education. All housing is temporary, constructed of either sun-dried mud bricks or mud packed walls and plastic sheeting for roofing."
The Tanzanian Red Cross Society provides health care services for the camps under the auspices of the UNHRC, says Dr. Robison, a past member of the Health Volunteers Overseas steering committee. "UNHRC doesn't address dental care for refugees, but since these individuals have lived as refugees for 10 years or more, they have desperate dental needs. They are the neediest of the needy. They may be getting their basic health needs met, but with dental care, there's a real gap."

Dr. Robison, who lived in Tanzania and worked in oral health care development from 1983-1990, says last year's trip, the findings of the team and the plans for future projects are close to her heart.

The team recommended providing Kabanga Hospital with two completely refurbished dental chair set ups and placing the old dental chairs in the Mtabila II and Nyaragusu refugee camps.

The survey may also be a helpful tool for lobbying to add dental care to the UNHRC's services, says Dr. Robison.
Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the International College of Dentists, the ADA contracted with Dentaid, a charitable organization in the United Kingdom dedicated to improving oral health worldwide, to prepare and ship the equipment. It is now en route to Kabanga.
"The ICD has a history of participating in the promotion of dental health on a worldwide basis," says Dr. James Felix. "We will continue to seek opportunities to be of service for the dental health of the world."

The team is thrilled that three phases of its four-phase plan have now been completed.

"It's very exciting. When the dental equipment is set up in the refugee camps, we will be able to send volunteer dentists who can provide care," says Ms. Cherrett. "Then we can proceed to Phase 4, when ADA/HVO volunteers and Tanzanian dental personnel can provide more in-depth training through seminars and implement oral health promotion curriculum in the community and schools."

"The work in the refugee camps linking the dental school and the local oral health service will provide much needed help in the area," says Dr. Hobdell, who has volunteered as a clinician and educator in Tanzania since 1976. "The CE courses and teaching in the dental school will be a great support to faculty and students alike. And the Tanzanian Dental Association's enthusiasm for the project bodes well for its success."


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