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Different landscape, same pain…

Posted in: Articles, by Rachel Purdy, on 20th March 2015 | Comments Off on Different landscape, same pain…

MbuluTwelve hours’ drive south east from Mwanza and you’ve barely covered a quarter of the length of Tanzania, yet it feels like a foreign land. “Sleepy Mbulu District” way up in the Rift Valley highlands, surrounded for much of year by clouds, to the east overlooking Tarangire National Park and to the north, the vast Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater. “Mbulu is cold” said Haji, our programme administrator, “it’s like the UK; people are wearing about three jumpers”…

The Bridge2Aid team have just completed 8 days’ training. Mbulu district proved to be far from sleepy with an Mbulu patients 1average of 126 patients visiting the training team every day – an astonishing 1010 patients treated in total with yet more people having to be turned away because the team was working at full capacity. “Patient numbers are not everything, it’s the quality of the Health Worker training that matters”…we repeat at every volunteer orientation; however the sheer volume of patients on the recent programme shocked everyone.
Josephat 2 mbulu

One of the 1000 patients treated on the programme was Josephat (7). Josephat lives with his uncle, because his mother is divorced and cannot afford to care for Josephat and all four of his brothers and sisters. Josephat has been complaining of dental pain for about 4 years; he had developed a swelling on the right side of his face. His mother and uncle, not really having any other option, relied on the witch doctor and traditional medicine. It was not helping; the pain was getting gradually worse. Josephat was now reaching the stage where he had started to miss school.

 

As the Bridge2Aid Dental Training Programme expands across into different areas of Tanzania, the training teams come into close contact with different people, languages, landscapes and cultures; a hugely diverse nation.
“The people in Mbulu district were proud to share information” Dr. Joseph (Bridge2Aid’s Clinical Director) Mbulu patients 2explained… “They came, they received treatment, and then they returned to their villages and each person then told their family, friends and neighbours, that’s why we had such huge numbers of people”. He went on to explain “Mbulu people are so kind, welcoming and calm; they listen inventively to instructions, there’s no scrambling for patient numbers which we sometimes see in other districts”

 

While the people, the languages, the weather, altitude, landscapes and the cultures change as Bridge2Aid travels, one thing that we can be sure of is wherever we go, we meet hoards of people whose lives; their education, their work, relationships and social networks; are being affected every day simply because there is no safe, affordable option for dental treatment available locally.

 

josephat 3
For Josephat and the kind, welcoming and calm people of Mbulu district way up in the mountains, there are now five Health Workers who have the skills, knowledge and experience of collectively treating in excess of 1000 patients to help provide this evidently much-needed service. The Health Workers will be able to continue safely treating the people whom the training team had to turn away and the hoards of people who day after day will hear about their services as news continues to travel around their communities.

 

A huge thank you to the training team for helping another community out of pain and for joining Bridge2Aid on the journey…


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