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Guatemala 2008

Another successful project occurred when Health Outreach traveled to Guatemala this January, providing care to over 350 children in three different field sites. 

Nineteen dental personnel including dentists, dental specialists, hygienists, assistants, and translators travelled to western Guatemala to provide everything from preventative care to surgery to children with very little access to dental care.   

Dental services were provided in a school classroom and at two medical clinics.  A thousand pounds of dental equipment was used during the project.  It was all portable allowing access into remote areas of the country where dental needs were the greatest. All sundries and small instruments were donated by local dentists and dental supply companies, with our own home volunteers tirelessly collecting items over the year. 

As a mobile team, we have become reliant on our dental equipment.  Due to electricity shortages, teams must depend on gas generators to drive dental equipment.  Thankfully, due to good maintenance, our generators, compressors, and portable ADEC dental units performed with very little problems.  In every hour of the project, our team was working at full capacity. 

Almost all dental services were offered, including dental sealants and root canal therapy.  No fees were collected for all services.  For the first time, four dental hygienists attended, making for an effective preventative effort.  Almost all children under age 18 received dental sealants, an effective treatment in an area where other preventative measures are non-existent. 

This year, “Guatemala 2008” involved a one-day clinic in a new area of the country.  The Panajachel area of Guatemala is 5238 feet above sea level and is inhabited by indigenous people, descendants of the Mayan civilization.  Over 50 children were seen here, all having urgent dental problems.  This clinic appears to be a promising site for a full week project in 2009. 

Dr. Timothy Lee, Project Leader “Guatemala 2008” 

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