Dentistry in Ghana by Manjeet Ahlowalia of Harpenden Dental Centre
I arrived in Ghana on the evening of 22nd April 2011 (Good Friday) and was met by the intense heat of Accra. Fortunately the temperature in Kwahu-Tafo was slightly cooler, but not much.
The clinics were run in the town’s music academy. Early on Saturday morning I was met there by Christian and Jacob, volunteers who were to be my helpers for the week (teachers for the rest of the time). Prior to my arrival both Christian and Jacob had visited all of the churches and schools in town to inform the people of Kwahu-Tafo of my imminent arrival. Jacob organised the patients and took their medical histories, while Christian translated and assisted with some basic nursing duties.
Inside the room were two tables, a fan and a chair. The lack of a sink had somewhat worried me but in the end we managed quite well using various bowls and hand disinfectants. Sterilisation was performed at the end of each session using a converted pressure cooker which took an hour per cycle.
We managed to treat about 30 patients per day of all ages. I observed three main categories of dental problems which were gross decay, severe periodontal issues and complicated tooth fractures. Diagnosis was fairly simple; however there were some very complicated extractions, the hardest of which took 30 minutes.
On my last day I met Sister Diana, the head of a maternity clinic on the edge of town. Sister Diana kindly granted us access to one of the rooms on a weekly basis and will organise a dentist from a neighbouring city to attend weekly. The clinic is currently applying for planning permission to create three more consulting rooms. Although there is currently no funding for these to be built, Sister Diana has agreed for one of these to be set aside for dentistry once they are made.
I felt the trip was a great success and I would like to thank everyone who helped with making this trip happen. Thanks to everyone for being so generous with their donations especially St. Alban’s High Primary School for Girls who raised £435, thanks to Dentsply for their generous support and lastly a big thank you to Christian and Jacob who worked tirelessly for the week and helped make this trip a real success.
If you would like to help towards the cost of building the clinic please make cheques payable to Friends of Tafo and send to:
Funds for Clinic, Friends of Tafo, PO Box 43826 London NW6 1XG.
Or visit the Friends of Tafo website.
Friends of Tafo is a registered charity that aims to empower and help the people of Kwahu-Tafo (1096242).