Saksalainen hammaslääkäri tohtori Pia Ulrich työskenteli jo kolmannen kerran Harghushayn kylässä Tansaniassa. Hän tutki kaikki paikallaolevat 290 SINI-koulun oppilasta ja fluorasi heidän hampaansa sekä hoiti myös muita yhteisön jäseniä.
For the third time, we packed our boxes with instruments and materials and changed our field of work from Germany to Tanzania.
This time, I was accompanied by 19 year old Zoe Keibl who has just finished her education as a dental nurse.
The road construction between Arusha and Babati has been completed and the road is still in a good condition which made the drive from KIA to Babati only four hours long. After another two hours we arrived in Harghushay.
On monday morning we started examining all attendant students (290 out of 400) and gave all of them a long term fluoridation. We noticed some enjoyable things:
1. The oral health in many of the students has improved. We saw a better dental hygiene, so obviously some of the students appear to be brushing their teeth regularly now.
2. Many of the sealings and fillings we made last year were still existent.
3. compared to last year less pupils needed treatment.
On Tuesday morning we finished the examinations of the children and- as last year- went from class to class again to explain and show how and why to brush teeth. We asked the students in all classes who of them brushes his teeth with a toothbrush regularly and an estimated amount of 60% said, they do. Afterwards we distributed toothbrushes to all students.
With the children of the preprimary, standard 1 and 2 we practiced brushing teeth outside at the sinks. As we had already noticed last year, the fine motoric skills are underdeveloped due to many families not having a mirror at home, so they can’t control their movements.
From Wednesday on, we worked in Gendabi. As last time, we could use the theater of the hospital there, which is a branch of the hospital in Haydom. Unfortunately some things have changed since last year. Compared to last camp, the doctor on duty was not very helpful. We are sure that he had not informed the community members that we were going to work there again. A new rule was that patients had to have a medical file which they had to buy for 500 Shilling and had to pay an additional 500 Shilling for the treatment as well. His argument was that Haydom is a privat hospital and needs to earn some money.
Everyone promised that the patients would be able to pay this small amount of money. The main problem was that giving out and paying for the files took an enormous amount of time due to which we were not able to start working before 9:30am.
On Wednesday and Thursday we did all necessary treatments for the pupils from Hargushay and there were parents coming as well. Adding it all up we had about the same number of patients per day as last year. after school vacations had started on Friday, we had less patients. Saturday, Monday and Tuesday we had about half the number of patients. The positive aspect was that we could do more treatments for the individual patient but anyway we had times without patients which was suboptimal. From Wednesday on there were more and more patients coming and all of them told us that the message of us working there again had not reached them earlier.
At the end of the week when Jason came to pick us up we had to refuse some patients which was a pity and made us very sad.
The longest journey had an 80(!) Year old woman who walked more than 7 hours to the Gendabi hospital. All together we treated 184 patients. We removed 230 teeth, did about 40 dental cleanings and 20 fillings.
Dr. Pia Ulrich
PS: Last year we met Yonah. He lives near the road between Harghushay and Gendabi with his family. After an accident with a cow carriage 8 years ago, he is paraplegic. It is very hard for him to move on these uneven roads with his wheelchair. Last year he asked us, if there would be a possibility to help him. Haule found a metalworker, who was willing to build a three-wheeled motorcycle. This year we could see the progress. It looks good and we are all hoping that Yonah will soon be able to move around more independently.