KE Diary: Making a Difference in Uganda
"Upon arriving in Uganda after more than a 10 hours’ flight, though tired, we were all excited at the prospect of setting up the first ever dental clinic in Suubi, Uganda.
It took us another couple of hours to arrive at the village, where we unpacked the loads and baggage of dental supplies and donated items at the multi-purpose hall, which is also the community hall and church for the village of orphaned children and destitute women.
When the surgery coats, the gloves, the dental equipment, the disinfectants, the toothpastes, all items necessary for the operation of a dental clinic were ready, the Watoto Dental Clinic was open for business!
It is a modern and well-equipped clinic, built with 2 new dental units, compressors, suction units and autoclave, all provided by the generous donors from Hong Kong. They were shipped to Uganda and installed by local technicians before our arrival, waiting for operation by the Watoto Dental Team.
Made in Hong Kong, this Watoto Dental Team comprised seven of us – Professor Gary Cheung, Dr Dennis Chan, Dr Trevor Yuen, Dr Raymond Ho, Dr Gary CY Cheung and Dr Vicky Szeto and me – all alumni of the Faculty of Dentistry.
Teaming up with 2 dental students, a local dentist and with the support of mobile dental units provided by Dentaids, the Watoto Team examined and treated about 800 patients from Suubi and Bbira villages in five days – what a record!
We also conducted oral checks for people in the church hall of Suubi village, some of them were given preventive treatment such as fluoride varnish and silver diamine fluoride (SDF) application.
While we performed dental checks and treatments, the students provided oral hygiene instruction and education to the local people, with the aim of enhancing their knowledge of proper plaque control. Patients who required follow up were scheduled for further treatment in our new dental clinic.
During the course, we carried out restorative treatment such as ART and composite restoration; endodontic treatment, extractions as well as scaling – all kinds of treatment that would be provided by a professional clinic – but at no cost!
After the service in Suubi, we moved on with the mobile dental units and equipment to the Laminadera Village in Gulu, which is situated in the northern part of Uganda. There, we served about 200 patients in a medical centre.
That was a memorable trip as we were the first group of Hong Kong dentists providing dental service for more than 1000 patients in Uganda. Team work was carried out by dentists across the generation – who were HKU dental graduates of the 80’s, the 90’s and the 2000’s.
More important is that after our departure, the Suubi dental clinic will become a place where visiting dentists from both local and other countries to serve and provide treatment to those in need, share their experience and train the local dental service providers in Uganda.
The joy we experienced in Uganda is beyond expression, and our team are looking forward to return to Uganda this summer."
Dr Abraham Chan (BDS 1994)