21st July 2013
It is amazing to think that there are only 5 dentists and 200 dental therapists in Malawi, which has a population of over 14 Million people.
James Goolnik led a team of eight passionate dental professionals from the UK and Europe to provide essential dental care and equipment to Malawians in association with Dentaid, a charity which aims to improve the world’s oral health.
A trip like this does not happen overnight; it takes a team. It started two years ago with Andy Jong from Dentaid, his passion about Malawi ignited James to want to help. Dentaid along with Rob Leak and Jacqueline James at the office helped with the logistics of making the dream reality. The majority of the money donated came from sales of James’ book Brush:
This could not have happened without our sponsors. We are so grateful to Colgate for providing the 10,000 toothbrushes and toothpaste. It was amazing to visit the orphanages and schools to help instruct the children in oral hygiene and give out the brushes.
Many UK companies donated consumables and equipment. I would like to particularly thank:
Kevin Rose, Dentabyte, Young dentist foundation, DMG, Ivoclar Vivadent & Practice plan for their generosity.
Also Henry Schein for not only the sundries but their support throughout this project and providing the engineer Sean Smith.
The full team: Sandra Martin, Iordache Gallarato, Alison Goolnik, Brendon McDonald, Sean Smith, Sally Simpson, Nicola Shaw.
They started by visiting Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre to see how they dealt with dental emergencies with limited resources.
In Zomba Central Hospital we installed a beautiful new dental surgery that will benefit thousands of people. Sean has refurbished equipment there; some of which has not been used for over five years. We left instruments and materials to the dentists who work there to ensure that efficient oral care can be sustained long after this initiative.
All the team then participated in Malawi’s first ever skills transfer workshop in Lilongwe, two days of sharing ideas to benefit our patients.
They saw amazing people doing wonderful things with limited resources. The visit is not just about donating our time or equipment it is about a mutual sharing of experiences. We learn together. What happens going forward is important. We need to be able to measure the impact of what we have left. Sustainability is critical.