The faculty was approached by SHAWCO from UCT
about joining them at Saturday morning clinics as they saw so many
patients in need of dental treatment and they do not have dental
The SHAWCO mobile clinic Two little characters
Our visit coincided with the monthly SHAWCO
paediatric clinic day at the Ubunye Early Childhood Development Centre
in DuNoon. It was a good opportunity to provide dental services and to
interact with the UCT students doing medicine, dietetics, physiotherapy
and occupational therapy. There even was an elective 5th year medical
student from Oxford University who showed great interest in our work.
Classrooms become surgeries
We set up portable equipment in 3 classrooms
and made use of the 2 chairs in our mobile clinic as well. Ubunye has a
very nice enclosed area that we used as a waiting room. One classroom
was used for screening and anaesthetizing and the others for treatment.
This way we could see more patients, and keep a check on progress
during the day.
The Waiting Room At work
We were short of 5th year students as they
had an OSCE on 15th August but the two that did come did sterling work
screening and doing some of the more difficult treatment. The rest of
the student team was made up of five 4th year students and they
performed extremely well.
We had seven dentists with us – Prof AJ Louw,
Dr Costa Saridakis from private practice in Milnerton, and the two
registrars in Community Oral Health – Dr Khabiso Ramphoma and Dr Dirk
Smit. The Paediatric Dentistry division also came along in the persons
of Dr Fathima Peerbhay and Dr Alisha Naidoo and they were involved in
supervising the students as well as training the three teachers from
Ubunye on how to implement a toothbrushing programme at the school and
they provided all the necessary materials to the school.
We started at about 08:45 and called it a day
at 15:30 when the last patient had been seen. SHAWCO came a bit later
and left earlier as they had fewer patients.
Lunch was provided by the Dean, Prof Yusuf
Osman. The UCT students were most impressed that not only does our dean
come out and visit us, but he brings the lunch too!
Despite some students observing a fast, work
continued apace. The flow of patients coming for treatment continued
all morning, so there was not a huge crowd in the waiting room. By the
end of the day we had seen 89 patients, extracted 51 primary and 88
secondary teeth, filled 3 teeth, performed a scaling on 4 patients and
performed one other minor surgical procedure.
SHAWCO want us to join them again next month,
but we have other trips scheduled. However, we will return to Dunoon,
the need there is great, the facility infrastructure works well and the
collaboration with UCT is a first for us. Being a paediatric clinic,
there are lots of children there and so we need to take Oral Hygienists
with us next time – health promotion opportunities abound.
Packing up the equipment, instruments and materials
After an hour of cleaning up and loading the equipment, we returned
to Tygerberg at 17:00 feeling tired but satisfied that we had made a
difference in the lives of at least some people.
I would like to thank the Faculty of Dentistry for funding this
outreach, and our faithful support staff; Felicity Vanqa (dental
assistant), John Philander and Hansie Koopman (our drivers) without whom
this would not have been possible. Also, a big thank-you to the staff
of Ubunye ECD centre for allowing us to disrupt their lives and
re-organize their classrooms!
A special word of thanks is due to the UCT students who run the
SHAWCO clinic at DuNoon, Lyndal Alexander and Kamlin Ekambaram, for all
their hard work and planning to get this off the ground.
Both staff and students have done us proud once again. There are at least 89 people in DuNoon who also say thank you!
Faculty of Dentistry Outreach to Dunoon 25 August 2012
The Faculty of Dentistry returned to
Dunoon for another outreach clinic on Saturday 25 August 2012. This was
arranged in conjunction with UCT’s SHAWCO paediatric clinic which is
held there at the same time. We used the facilities of Ubunye ECD
centre. A team of four 5th year, seven 4th year and three 3rd year
Dental students together with two 3rd year Oral Hygiene students and
five lecturers took part.
We departed from the Tygerberg campus soon
after 8 am and were ready to start treatment at 9am (thanks to the
equipment having been set up the day before). It was cold, windy and
wet but that didn’t deter the patients who sought our help.
Fortunately, we used the enclosed play area as a waiting room and three
of the classrooms as surgeries as well as the mobile clinic parked just
The Waiting room at the beginning The Screening and sterilization area
As we had done on previous occasions, one
classroom was used as both the screening venue, using a portable chair
and light, as well as the sterilization department using our 2
autoclaves. Two other classrooms were used as “double surgeries” using
two portable chairs, light and suction units. Used instruments were
exchanged for sterile ones in the screening/sterilizing room, and the
next patient was seen. While all this was going on, the two chairs in
the mobile clinic were being used for fillings and scaling and
Working in the classrooms
A trickle of patients kept arriving throughout the day. They were
given numbered stickers and forms, consent for treatment was obtained
and the work progressed.
The students were hard at work in the
mobile clinic doing cleanings and fillings. The demand for our services
really impressed the UCT students – we had ten times more patients than
they did. But it was also a good opportunity for them to see something
about dentistry, especially low-tech, but quality treatment, provided
using portable equipment.
Visiting a place like Dunoon reminds
one of the stark realities of grinding poverty in our country; something
we do not engage with in our hospital setting. But many people there
are trying to make ends meet and there are many stalls selling all sorts
of things. Just around the corner was a traditional healer whose big
advert outside promised a solution for all sorts of problems (except
Working inside the mobile clinic Looking after a patient’s child
The brushing programme that we instituted last year is going well.
Each child's toothbrush is marked with their name and placed in their
own cup. The children got to view the video we provided them with "Dr
Rabbit"(Colgate) and the teachers translate for them so they can
The teachers have a Xhosa song that they sing while the kids
brush. Since they do not have adequate bathroom facilities, the kids
take water in their cups and go outside to brush. We provided them with
toothbrushes for next years classes.
By 4 pm we called it a day – the UCT students had gone home at
lunch-time. Then came the big pack-up and clean up, and we returned to
Tygerberg at 17:15.
During the day, we treated 107 patients. We extracted 165 teeth,
placed 17 fillings and provided 11 patients with a scaling and
The lecturers were Prof Attie Louw, Dr Tina Roberts, Dr Fathima
Peerbhay and Dr Rob Barrie, assisted by Dr Costa Saridakis (our private
practice voluntary helper).
A special word of thanks to my colleagues who accompanied us, our
dental assistant Ms Felicity Vanqa and our three drivers; Malcolm Adams,
Hansie Koopman and Jerome Leo. Also, once again, to Ubunye ECD centre
for making their premises available for us. They made it all possible.
The Dunoon Team of 2012 – tired but still smiling
We may not be saving lives, but we are making a difference in
people’s lives. This patient (below) now has a much nicer smile!
This was our fourth outreach activity for 2012. Once again I was
impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of our students. They
really give of their best to their patients and treat them with such
respect, and they get stuck in to the task in hand with enthusiasm. So
much so that some did not even get lunch! The University of the Western
Cape can really be proud of them.
Dr R B Barrie
28 August 2012