Date published: 04 April 2018
The Dental Aid Netowrk team were (left to right): Dr Zohaib Khan, Dr Amer Mobarik, Dr Imran Shafi, Dr Abdul-Wahab, Dr Imran Asghar and Dr Khurum Shafiq.
Oldham dentist Dr Imran Asghar was part of a six-strong Dental Aid Network (DAN) team which visited Kashmir for the third time.
The team – who were all self-funded - consisted of four dentists from Glasgow - Dr Khurrum Shafiq, Dr Abdulwahab Aslam-Pervez, Dr Imran Shafiq and Dr Amer Mobarik - a dentist from Liverpool - Dr Zohaib Khan - and Dr Asghar.
The aim of the six-day mission was to work with special institutions who cared for orphans (Kashmir Orphans Relief Trust (KORT)), children with special needs (Zobia School for special needs), blind children (Akaab school for the blind) and those who could not hear or speak (Kashmir Institution of Special Education) and assess their dental needs and work with the children and staff to reduce the level of pain and disease.
Those who were screened for dental disease were treated in a dental wing of a hospital unit in the area of Mirpur (Azad Kashmir).
Team DAN annually pay and send a dedicated dental engineer to get the three dental surgeries up and ready before they arrive.
On the first day following arrival, the team spend a whole day cleaning and sterilising out the surgeries from top to bottom, including setting their dental equipment which they brought from the UK.
Treatments included fillings on front and back teeth, removal of diseased teeth, cleaning of the gums/teeth and most importantly, dental education.
The team were happy to see that most children who had been previously examined in the previous years had little or no problems, and they were keen to show off their beautiful smiles and how well they had been brushing and stay away from the sugary snacks.
This year the dental charity went further and set up a camp in the remote area of Bhimber (two hours journey from the main city) and together with local helpers from the medical background, examined and treated children and adults.
Here the scope of dentistry involved dental examinations (check-ups), tooth brushing advice, oral health and diet advice, and extractions of painful, decayed, diseased teeth.
All patients received toothbrushing advice leaflets and a toothbrush with toothpastes.
The DAN team hosted an evening of dental lectures ranging from oral cancer, orthodontics and blood Bourne viruses such as Hepatitis B.
This event was attended by dentists from far and wide, and academics, those involved in public health commissioning, dental students and the general public. The aim was to create awareness of the DAN’s long term aims, networking and gaining help for future missions to promote good dental practice and reduce overall dental disease.
Here is some data following the team’s efforts:
Total number of patients assessed/examined 640
Total number of patients treated in the clinics 255
Total number of extractions 141
Total number of direct restorations (fillings) 60
Total number of scaling/cleaning 9
This effort cannot be done without the help of donations for dental equipment from the public and dental colleagues, help from the dental industry who kindly donated safety anaesthetic needles (Septodont), and the ground the team from each area and school DAN visited.
The DAN team aims to send out more groups in the future and to help more and more people with each trip.
Dental Aid Network also visits Palestine, Gambia, Greece and Jordan each year. Check out the dedicated Facebook page - ‘Dental Aid Network’ - and the official website: http://www.dentalaidnetwork.org