2015 Dental Volunteer Information
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Read how the Melbourne Dental School supports the Vanuatu Dental Care Services in December 2013 Dental Alumni Magazine Article (pdf)
You might think that MSM is only interested in simply transporting medical teams from one village to the next. The fact is, since 2010, we have been busy in the background helping to establish the Vanuatu Dental Care Service in conjunction with all the partner organisations we have got to know over the past few years; including AusAID which have provided much of the initial funding.
The Vanuatu Dental Care Service now employs two full time Ni-van (ie local) Dental Care Workers, Bob and Morinda, with a focus on providing dental Education, Prevention and Treatment.
The dental service operates alongside the long-running Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project as part of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s (PCV) health outreach program headed up by Richard Tatwin. They have their own, newly established dental and eyecare clinic in Port Vila and each year operate a number of outreach medical missions to the furthest corners of the island chain. Their goal is to visit each island, (and there’s around 63 inhabited islands spread 900kn from north to south) every 3-5 years.
The focus of the dental service is to train locals to spread the “oral health message” to all the people of Vanuatu. It’s also to train locals to deliver appropriate methods of treatment, with a focus on using dental hand tools to administer “ART” (Atraumatic Restorative Treatment) rather than simply do extractions in later life when the pain becomes too much to endure.
It’s all about “training locals to treat locals”, in order to build capacility and long term sustainability on the ground.
Have a look at the Vanuatu Oral Health Video link from Fruit of The Pacific or see their Youtube clip below.
If you’d like to make a donation, or volunteer time or resources, we’d love to hear from you. You can also view more imagesof the 2010 Dental Mission or view the 2013 03 Dental Care Service-Presentation or the Project sheet
Kindest regards and blessings
Rob Latimer and Mike Clarke
Vanuatu Dental Care Service Co-ordinators (Melb)