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Welcome to Klipheuwel Outreach

The Faculty of Dentistry embarked on an outreach programme to Klipheuwel on Saturday 13th April 2013.


 Report: Klipheuwel Outreach April 2013


The Faculty of Dentistry embarked on an outreach programme to Klipheuwel on Saturday 13th April 2013.


The team of Dental students, seven 5th years, four 4th years and two 3rd years arrived at the Klippies Kids Pre-primary school at 08:30.  The outreach was planned in conjunction with the Durbanville branch of Rotary International who have been doing sterling work in the Klipheuwel community for some years, and some of the Rotary members were there waiting for us.

Fig. 1. The queue outside the gates                         Fig. 2. The classroom surgery


We used our Mobile Clinic with its 2 chairs as well as 5 portable dental chairs, lights and suction units set up in two of the classrooms at the school.  After a briefing, work began on the group of about 70 patients who were already there.


As has become our routine, we used one of the classrooms to examine and anaesthetize each patient, who was then referred to either the mobile clinic for scaling and polishing or for fillings.  If extractions were required, the patients were referred to the classroom next door where the portable chairs had been set up.


Members of Rotary acted as administrators and filled in the patients’ details on the treatment forms and obtained signed consent.  For this they were amply qualified, one was a retired head of the Western Cape Regional office of the Department of Health and another a former Member of Parliament!


Work continued all day in an attempt to treat as many patients as possible.  Students rotated among the chairs to get some variation of tasks.  Tea breaks were fitted in between patients and lunch was also taken quickly on a rotation basis so that the flow of treatment was minimally affected.


All the refreshments and the delicious lunch were provided by the Rotary club and was greatly appreciated.


While the treatment continued, as has become tradition at Klipheuwel, the children were taken on rides in the open field next door in a Landrover (much excitement) and other children were kept amused with creative activities such as colouring-in (much enthusiasm).


Fig. 3. Working hard                                               Fig. 4. Keeping kids occupied


We tried to treat all ages, but treating the pre-schoolers always presents a challenge.  We managed very well, but a couple of them would not co-operate and were referred to the Faculty for treatment under sedation.

Fig. 5. Examining young patient                             Fig. 6. Treatment continues


As usual, the students worked hard throughout the day and we had to force some of them to take a break!  After seeing all of the patients, including some who arrived later, the big clean-up and pack-up commenced (all the portable equipment, instruments and consumables have to be loaded into the mobile clinic).

The mobile clinic takes about one hour to load, and after a few photographs, we left and the students were back at Tygerberg before 17:00.


Fig. 7. Hard at work                                                    Fig. 8.  Packing up


We saw 111 patients, extracted 187 teeth, filled 2 teeth and scaled and polished 5 patients.

Fig. 9.  The Klipheuwel Team 2013


This outreach was a very good learning opportunity for the students and it provided a much needed service to this community. 


Thanks is due to the Faculty of Dentistry for funding the weekend, and to the supervisors, Prof Louw and Dr Simpson,  and also Dr Costa Saridakis, a private practitioner from Cape Town who regularly joins our outreach activities.  Our drivers Mr Adams and Mr Leo got us, and the equipment, there and back safely – thank you.


Thanks also to Ms Moos, Principal of Klein Klippies Pre-primary for allowing us to disrupt her school and for being there all day.  She is a star! 


Thanks too to Durbanville Rotary club for all their support, assistance on the day and provision of meals and refreshments for the team.  It is really appreciated.


Finally, and most importantly, a big thank you to the students for volunteering to spend a Saturday treating patients.  Their enthusiasm, cheerfulness, commitment to their patients and the professional service that they provided was exemplary.  They are a credit to their profession and UWC.


Dr Rob Barrie

Faculty of Dentistry Outreach Coordinator

15 April 2013

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