The faculty has a number of outreach programmes where students have an opportunity to provide services in the community after hours. This is in addition to the two-week rotation that some students spend on the Phelophepa health train.
The outreach to Scottsdene takes place every Tuesday and Thursday evening during term time. This evening clinic provides an extraction service to this community using the mobile clinic.
Weekend outreaches have been scheduled to take place three times per year. These are planned for rural communities who do not have access to a dental service in their town, and are not so far away from the faculty that they are difficult to get to. We have been to Vredenburg and Piketberg three times and are now going to Tulbagh (September 2012). Comprehensive treatment is provided to up to 250 patients per weekend, using the fully equipped mobile clinic as well as portable chairs.
Day outreaches also take place and we have been to DuNoon and Klipheuvel for a Saturday. The DuNoon visit coincides with a visit by SHAWCO from UCT, and the Klipheuvel visit is planned in conjunction with the Durbanville Rotary Club who are supporting initiatives in this community.
Participation is voluntary for the students and it is never a problem to find volunteers! It is an ideal situation of extending our training platform into the community and for the community to obtain much needed dental treatment – a real win-win situation. The enthusiasm and commitment shown by the students on these outreach programmes is something UWC can be proud of!
Dr R B Barrie