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 three 5th year, seven 4th year and five 3rd year Dental 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). 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 outside.
The Waiting room at the beginning Mrs Vanqa in the 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. We were again fortunate to have Mrs Felicity Vanqa, our dental assistant, join us to manage the instrument sterilization. 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 polishing.
Working in the classrooms
There were over a hundred patients waiting for us when we arrived, and more kept on coming all 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 many 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.
Du Noon is a community with many problems and it is good to be able to make a difference there, even if only in a small way.
By 15:30 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 17:00.
During the day, we treated 154 patients. We extracted 133 teeth, placed 8 fillings and provided 20 patients with a scaling and polishing.
A special word of thanks to my colleagues who accompanied us, Prof Attie Louw, Dr Dirk Smit, Dr Khabiso Ramphoma, assisted by Dr Costa Saridakis (our private practice voluntary helper). Thanks are also due to our dental assistant Ms Felicity Vanqa and our two drivers; Mr Malcolm Adams and Mr Hansie Koopman. Also, once again, thanks to Ubunye ECD centre for making their premises available for us. They made it all possible.
The Du Noon Team of 2013 – tired but still smiling
This was our fourth outreach activity for 2013. Every time I am 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. The University of the Western Cape can really be proud of them!
Dr R B Barrie
27 August 2013