Smile Again Dentistry project – Sierra Leone
Sohair & Omar Hayat are Friends of the GF (Omar is a Trustee) and went to Sierra Leone in April 2022. Sohair is a dentist and a certified trainer and works for a practice in London, which started a small dental charity (Smile Again Dentistry) to provide dental procedures in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone was chosen as it is one of the poorest countries in the world and there are virtually no dental facilities accessible to the rural population, resulting in people developing chronic infections, significantly impacting their health and livelihood. These chronic infections can be prevented through early basic intervention. We aim to precisely do this so that minor problems can be resolved before chronic conditions develop.
The team were able to establish two local urgent dental care and training centre for the population and continued training three locals in dental procedures. These trainees are being certified by the medical board in SL and are already providing some dental care to the local population. They are in touch with the team, now back in the UK, to further their training. This has the benefit of developing longer-term locally sourced dental treatment and giving the trainees an income stream to continue the clinics.
The ambition for the project is to replicate the 2 clinics, now set up in other towns, so that dental hygiene clinics are available to most of the rural poor. A further aim of the project is to perform outreach programs in to schools, via the local clinics, so that dental problems can be remedied before chronic problems develop and also to teach basic oral hygiene techniques. This is a project that will take several years to complete.
All the UK dentists involved in this charity provided their expertise free of charge, and all expenses associated with personal travel and living were also paid for by the dentists. Charity donation money was only used to directly assist the local population through the supply of equipment and drugs.
We hope the GF and Friends will continue to support this project and one day be able to see basic dental clinics available to all the rural poor in Sierra Leone.
Patients have given permission for their pictures to be shown to raise awareness and increase the help that is currently being afforded. Nevertheless, we have hidden their identity.
Knowledge gained through experience is far superior and many times more useful than bookish knowledge.