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Welcome to Outreach programme in Vredenburg

​​​​​​​​​​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.

 

 Dentistry Outreach to Vredenburg 2 – 3 April 2011

 

The faculty of Dentistry held a very successful outreach programme in Vredenburg during the first weekend in April 2011.  Fifteen students from 4 different year-groups left the faculty at 14:00 on Friday 1 April and travelled to Vredenburg.  On arrival, all the equipment was unloaded and 5 portable chairs, lights, suction units, autoclaves, gloves, masks and instruments were set up in consulting rooms in the Hanna Coetzee clinic.  The team then spent the night in the Hoedjiesbaai hotel in Saldanha.

On the Saturday morning, all concerns about whether there would be enough patients for us evaporated when we arrived at the clinic.  Nearly 150 patients had arrived, despite low-key advertising!  The students appeared stunned; but not for long.  Soon patients started moving into consulting rooms and the faculty’s mobile clinic parked outside, students donned masks and gloves and treatment began.

We also had Prof Vivienne Wilson and Dr Dirk Smit come out and spend the day with us – and they found lots to do.

At 10:00 the power failed – our autoclaves had damaged the earth leakage relay. Big problem on a Saturday morning!  However, our contact from the PGWC Oral Health Services, Karen Paulse phoned Ms Esmé van Vuuren at the Vredenburg Hospital who arranged for an electrician to come out.  He made a diagnosis almost a quickly as our students – and soon had a replacement relay installed.  Only when he had finished did we discover that he wasn’t even on call that weekend, but was willing to help us – thank you Mr “Kraai” Snyders, you deserve a medal!


Work continued unabated, in fact we almost had to force the students to stop for lunch – they were on a mission!  Lunch was provided (and delivered in person) by our Dean, Prof Osman and Deputy Dean, Prof Parker – their support and interest was greatly appreciated.


By the end of the day, we were tired, but satisfied to know we had helped so many people.  After cleaning up we retired to our hotel to rest, watch the end of the Cricket World Cup final and have dinner at the hotel, which was enjoyed by all.


Early on Sunday morning we were back.  Any hopes we may have had that we had eliminated dental disease in the area were dashed when we saw the multitude waiting for us at the clinic!

But by now the team was well rehearsed and efficiently swung into action.  Slowly the waiting room emptied and satisfied patients made their way home –relieved of their pain and discomfort.

By early Sunday afternoon the waiting room was empty again.  The pack-up, clean-up and load-up followed, and after an uneventful trip we arrived back at Tygerberg at 17:00.

During the two days we treated 194 patients, extracted 538 teeth, scaled and polished 7 patients and were only able to fill 7 teeth – such is the extent of the need in this community.  It is sad to see such a severe treatment backlog in our Province.


A big thank-you is due to the students who gave up their weekend to provide this service.  They learned lots, honed skills and experienced the immense satisfaction of being able to help others in a very practical way.  Their enthusiasm, hard work and empathy shown towards their patients were exemplary.  We are proud of them!

The support from the Department of Health was wonderful.  Special thanks are due to Mrs Karen Paulse who did so much for us in the planning and in keeping things running smoothly on the weekend.  Her enthusiasm is an inspiration to us all.

Finally, a word of thanks is due to the University of the Western Cape for funding this initiative.  It was of great benefit to both the students and community.  May there be many more of these weekends – the need out there is immense!

Second Dentistry Outreach to Vredenburg 28 – 29 May 2011

The faculty of Dentistry held another very successful outreach programme in Vredenburg during the last weekend in May 2011.  Twelve students from 3 different year-groups left the faculty at 14:00 on Friday 27 April and travelled to Vredenburg, set up the portable equipment at the Hanna Coetzee clinic in Louwville.  The team then spent the night at a guest house in Saldanha.

General view out over a part of Louwville – home to many more patients than we could treat.


On the Saturday morning we were welcomed by many patients (above), who were already being screened by Ms Karen Paulse the Oral Hygienist from the Diazville clinic in Saldanha.

We adopted the same modus operandi that worked so well during the previous visit, and soon patients started moving into consulting rooms and the faculty’s mobile clinic parked outside, students donned masks and gloves and treatment began.

We also had Dr Ronel Maart and Dr Saadiqa Khan join us for the day and they found lots to do.  Dr Costa Saridakis also joined us – and what is noteworthy about this is that he is a private practitioner with a passion for serving the community.  He also did not get any remuneration for his services – truly an example to us all.


Working in the Mobile clinic

Work continued unabated, in fact we almost had to (once again) force the students to stop for lunch – they were on a mission!  Lunch was provided (and delivered in person) by our Dean, Prof Yusuf Osman and Deputy Dean, Dr Fifty Carstens together with Ms Natalie Gordon for the Oral Hygiene Department at UWC.– their support and interest was greatly appreciated.



By evening we were tired, but satisfied to know we had helped so many people.  After cleaning up we retired to our guest house to rest lowed by dinner at the hotel, which was enjoyed by all.


By early Sunday afternoon the waiting room was empty again.  The pack-up, clean-up and load-up followed, and after an uneventful trip we arrived back at a cold, wet Tygerberg at 17:00.

During the two days we treated 176 patients, extracted 370 teeth, scaled and polished 7 patients and were only able to fill 27 teeth.  This is much the same as seen the previous month – such is the extent of the need in this community.  It is sad to see such a severe treatment backlog in our Province.

A plan for the future is to arrange a Saturday when we can take our Anaesthesiologist and her conscious sedation team there to enable us to treat the very young children – we have the contact details of nine of them already!  We need to arrange this in conjunction with Vredenburg Hospital as we will need their theatre, recovery rooms, etc.  We estimate being able to treat 30 children in a day using conscious sedation.  This will meet another need in this community.  Watch this space!


A big thank-you is due to the students and the rest of the team (above) who gave up their weekend to provide this service.  Their enthusiasm, hard work and empathy shown towards their patients were exemplary.  They also learned lots, honed skills and experienced the immense satisfaction of being able to help others in a very practical way.  We are proud of them!

The support from the Department of Health was wonderful.  Special thanks are due to Mrs Karen Paulse who again did so much for us in the planning and in keeping things running smoothly on the weekend.  Her enthusiasm continues to be an inspiration to us all.

Finally, a word of thanks is due to the University of the Western Cape for funding this initiative.  It was of great benefit to both the students and community.  May there be many more of these weekends – the need out there is immense!


 Dr R B Barrie and Prof A J Louw

Department of Community Oral Health, Faculty of Dentistry, University of the Western Cape.

 

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