A KENDAL dentist is raising funds for a working trip to Tanzania – where the average person has had toothache for two-and-a-half years.
Melanie Yates, head dentist at Oasis on Stramongate, will spend two weeks setting up basic clinics in rural areas of the East African country as part of a team of 12 volunteers.
The team will see up to 300 people a day, many of whom will have walked for hours seeking relief from their dental pain.
As part of the programme they will also help train up a local clinical officer to continue the work once the volunteers have returned home. The trip is taking place through the Bridge2Aid charity, which provides training to increase access to dental pain relief for people in the developing world.
“I have been interested in doing something like this for years but it’s never really been the right time in my career,” said Melanie.
“Throughout East Africa the ratio of people to dentists is so small most people just have no access to one. In some uneducated rural areas people will drink Coca Cola instead of bottled water because it is cheaper, which causes big problems for their teeth.”
Melanie is self-funding the trip and is trying to raise funds to enable a dental nurse to join her, with anything over the £5,000 target going towards sponsoring local clinical officers.
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In order to reach her target Melanie has organised a Morecambe cross bay fundraising walk led by Queen’s Guide to the Sands Cedric Robinson. The trip will go from Cedric’s home village of Kents Bank to Silverdale on June 7, and Melanie and the rest of her dental practice will be dressed as tooth fairies for the duration.
For full details go to www.melanieyates.co.uk