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What Desperation Does

Posted in: Blog, by Mark Topley, on 24th September 2014 | Comments Off on What Desperation Does

Last week I was in Bukoba, north west Tanzania, visiting one of our DVP teams.

I recorded a video blog about that trip last week and you can find it here.

As I said in the v-log, travelling with the volunteers and seeing DVP in action was a great boost for me. It always reminds me of why what we do is so important, and just how effective the combination of our volunteer trainers, B2A staff team, and training of Health Workers is when it comes to treating dental pain.

By the end of the programme, over 1,300 people had been treated, and fantastically, 100% of the Health Workers passed the course. They will soon be treating patients week in, week out – a brilliant legacy for the DVP teams.

Since I got back from my trip, I found out some of the stories from the team and the other DVP team in Karagwe, who were working even further into the area. The Bukoba team saw Faustine.

It’s a sad but unfortunately familiar tale – Faustine, who is a farmer had suffered so badly and was in so much pain after 5 years with an infected tooth that he resorted to untrained treatment, such was his level of desperation. Our clinical team assessed him and concluded that it was probably the infected state of the tissues rather than the procedure that caused the subsequent problem – removing the tooth badly simply made space for the infection to spread. But he should never have got into that condition in the first place. If there had been a trained Health Worker in his village, he could have got help quickly and cheaply.

Thankfully, we have now put him on the road to recovery and he will soon be seen in Mwanza.

But it makes you think – what drives someone to risk that kind of injury?

And of course we know the answer. Dental caries causes the most excruciating pain, and once you have that pain, it’s almost impossible to escape without treatment. People will resort to any means necessary to relieve it.

By putting 12 more trained health care workers within reach of another 120,000 people in north west Tanzania last week, we’ve taken another step towards making cases like the one above a thing of the past.

If you would like to support our work (£5 pays for access to emergency treatment for a whole family), please donate now.

If you’re a dental professional and would like to take part in our unique, sustainable volunteer programme, click here.


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