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Report: Faculty of Dentistry Outreach to Fisantekraal -27th October 2018


​The Faculty of Dentistry held another outreach on 27th October 2018 in Fisantekraal. A team of eight 5th year, five 4th year, and a lone, but very enthusiastic 3rd year dental student, together with four lecturers, took part.


On the Saturday morning, the team departed at 07:00 from Tygerberg, and when we arrived there were over 250 patients already in a queue. We issued stickers to the first 200 in the queue, and reluctantly turned the rest away.


After unpacking all the equipment and setting up the surgeries, we were ready for our first patients, soon after 08:30.

Outreach Report Fisantekraal October 2018 1.bmpPatient administration and child-minders in action

As has been the case in the past, the Durbanville Club of Rotary International provided wonderful support.  The members of Rotary Durbanville performed the patient administration

for us, and organized gift toys for the children and provided our delicious lunch. This was a huge help to us. Thanks again Rotary!​

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At work in the consulting rooms on the portable chairs


All this took place during a heat wave and the temperature soared into the high 30’s. Some patients had to wait for a long time, but they were all so appreciative of our service.

The students worked hard, especially those in the mobile clinic, where the heat became almost unbearable. Everyone, staff, students and helpers worked like a highly efficient team and kept on smiling.

In outreaches like these, the same situation prevails; many patients with pain and sepsis requesting the extraction of hopelessly decayed teeth. It is apparent that Fisantekraal really needs a dental clinic – the community has grown substantially.​

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Outreach Report Fisantekraal October 2018 last.bmp 

At least the consulting rooms had air-conditioning…

Tea breaks were hardly taken and, with a staggered break for lunch, things ran smoothly all day. And, after packing all the portable equipment, consumables and instruments into the mobile clinic and taking a (now traditional) group photo, we left for Tygerberg at 17:00 a bit later than usual.


We saw 137 patients, extracted 279 teeth, filled 8 teeth, scaled and polished 7 patients. It is such a pity that so many teeth need to be extracted, but there is no other treatment option.


Although we attended to more patients than on our visit to Fisantekraal in April, it was very unfortunate not to be able to treat all of the patients who had been given stickers. I had created an expectation, but I was just too ambitious on the day. Everyone was too tired to work late into the evening, and it was heart-breaking to have to explain to the patients (who had waited all day in the heat) that we would not be able to see them all. They were very good-natured in

their response, though, which eased my despondency. It just confirms how inadequate the public dental services are in the area – something needs to be done!


To the City of Cape Town staff members from the clinic, who were there to help us, a big thank you! A special word of thanks is due to my colleagues who accompanied us, Prof Neil Myburgh, Dr Marcelle Cupido and Dr Sonja Lewis, Ms Felicity Vanqa who was ably assisted by Ms Patty van Rheenen who managed our sterilizing section, and also to our driver, Mr Malcolm Adams.  Also to Rotary you were a huge help and support!


Thanks are also due to the University of the Western Cape for financing these outreaches a truly Engaged University!

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The Fisantekraal October 2018 Outreach Team

I keep saying it, but it is really worth repeating, UWC can really be proud of these students. It is a pleasure to work with such a friendly, enthusiastic and hard-working team!

Prof R B Barrie

Outreach Coordinator​



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