Dental Health Campaigns
Dental health Campaigns
To offer dental services to impoverished villagers living in isolated communities with no access to dental care, and to provide flouride treatments to elementary school children.
In 1994, APECA in Peru was experiencing the challenge of initiating delivery of services that would evolve into sustainable projects. The generous efforts of Dr Robert Hall, DDS of West Hartford CT in the USA, stepped forward and offered to help with a dental campaign. He had been on a trip in a developing country with a team of dentist, and felt he could be of assistance. The need was tremendous, and while many individual extractions were necessary, the magnitude of other related dental and maxiofacial conditions could not be ignored. From this vision of a large scale impact, he and APECA volunteers of Peru and the USA, mainly University of Connecticut Dental School and their third year dental students initiated a research project.
The first year’s experience was Dr. Hall leading a research project that included medications (including fluoride gel), instruments, and an unending sense of volunteering. In the village of Tamshiyacu, some parents offered to become trained assistants. Provisions were coordinated by APECA for the Centro de Salud to have educational seminars at the elementary school for the parents of the children of the school where treatments would be given.
During the first visit the research project process provided education for the children (200+), teachers, parents, and even dental technicians of the area in which APECA was working. Control and treatment groups were created, and anyone age six was given fluoride treatment. The second year all children six and seven years of age were given treatments. Interest increased every year. The treatments continued for five years at the elementary school, with four treatments a year providing an ample demonstration of the effects of fluoride on the healthy growth of children’s teeth. In 1999, APECA was informed by the technician at the Centro de Salud in Tamshiyacu, that the Peruvian Ministry of Health would follow the example, and provide fluoride application with their new program.
Starting village campaigns in 1995, over the years APECA was able to coordinate outreach services that would eventually become three village magnet centers a day, with a full team of volunteers, professionals, and students. Through this campaign outreach APECA became more sensitive to, and responded to the need for general health care*. Thanks to a student initiative in the USA, years of dental campaign experience on the part of dental professionals and extensive coordination in remote villages, APECA conducted a great tenth dental campaign with third year dental students of the University of Connecticut. Eleven students, supervised by three preceptors and two hygienists, provided clinics in eight villages, from February 29 to March 6, 2004, treated over 414 patients, and provided dental education on preventative care to hundreds more.
“Healing the Children” of the Northeast Chapter, participated in a surgical campaign with village dental campaigns, running simultaneously in 2005 and 2006. The additional benefit for the Ministry of Health in Iquitos was a seminar and panel discussion presented to consider the importance of addressing the training of dental technicians in the Iquitos area of Peru.
The professional campaign volunteers of the USA invited local practitioners to share their professional skills, which allowed them to benefit from the experience and possibly lead to becoming trained at the Peruvian National University of Amazonia. The UNAP Dental School, as of 2012, provides graduates who accompany APECA Health Campaigns. The UNAP had an established medical school in 1994, however it was not until after 2012, that their newly founded Dental School had a graduating class.
For more information, Contact APECA at: email@example.com.