News Release

Giving Free Dental Service in Uganda

A team of dentists and dental hygienists affiliated to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently conducted a week-long service to the people of Uganda, based at the Mulago School of Dental Health in Kampala.

During the exercise, the core team comprised of two dentists and three dental hygienists from the United States of America carried out dental assessments, filled dental cavities, extractions, cleaning of teeth and training of both dentists and dental students on best practices of the trade.

Dr. Openshaw from California who led the team, said that he got his inspiration from an observation he made years ago as a young missionary of the Church when he served in South Africa. At the time, he noticed the great need that existed for dental services, even among his companions. He felt impressed to make a contribution whenever he ever got the opportunity. Since completing his dental training, he has returned to Uganda six times now, to offer his valuable service.

Members of the team included Dr. Randy Gardner, also from California, and three experienced dental hygienists. A daughter to Dr.Openshaw coordinated the clinical efforts.

The team was assisted by Elder Ford, a dentist with 40 years of experience, currently serving with his wife as public affairs missionaries for the Church, based in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Another missionary couple, Dr. Chabra and his wife, who are serving in Uganda, also boosted the team with their efforts throughout the week.

One particular group of beneficiaries from the exercise were girls from an organization called “Set Her Free." The organization cares for “high-risk” girls that have been rescued from human trafficking  in Uganda. They were all excited and grateful to have benefited from the exercise, as their many dental needs were taken care of freely.

In the past, through similar efforts coordinated by a Canadian dentist, Dr. Drew Cahoon, the Church helped ship in 37 dental chairs, with each hospital in Uganda receiving two chairs. A technician who came along was on hand to train and equip the receipients with maintenance skills and tools. 

The church had also earlier donated a state of the art panoramic x-ray machine, the only one of its kind in the Country at the time. These have since transformed the dental clinic at the dental school and enhanced their ability to serve people who go there for dental treatment.

Every person treated walked away with a free toothbrush, dental floss, a tube of tooth paste and tips on how to care for their teeth better!

Research on the prevalence of oral diseases in Uganda conducted by the department of African Health Sciences at the Makerere University, showed there is still a great need for dental awareness and affordable services in Uganda.

Such efforts by volunteers such as these go a long way in making a positive contribution to the improvement of dental health in Uganda.

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