Free Dental Program

Millions of African children have never had any dental care and don’t even own a toothbrush! Poor oral hygiene has been shown to increase the risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and HIV progression. Millions of African people suffer terribly because they just cannot afford to see a dentist for treatment. Especially in children, the pain they suffer is usually excruciating and their oral infections often lead to many other health problems. AAI brings quality dental care and education to the people of Guinea absolutely free, with a particular focus on children. Our dental program is based on three simple goals;

Prevention

We distribute tens of thousands of toothbrushes and dental supplies to West African schoolchildren and families through our programs each year, as well as educational material to aid in making dental hygiene a part of daily life. In addition to making smiles brighter, toothbrushes are crucial in the prevention of dental decay and disease. By providing the tools and knowledge necessary to maintain oral health at a young age, most of the horrible cases of dental disease we treat each year in can be prevented. In 2015 we distributed over 17,000 dental care kits in the greater Conakry area, with many more distributed in Yattaya and in Dakar, Senegal. In 2016 we aim to more than double these numbers, bringing our program to every local school as well as expanding to help even more remote communities.

Treatment

Since 2014, our dental program in Conakry has treated many hundreds of patients in local clinics which AAI has subleased for our treatment program. Overseen by Dr. Mohamed Camara, a highly regarded local dentist with many years of professional experience who has also served as the local dental coordinator for the Mercy Ships program in Guinea, we have eased the suffering of many desperate people with nowhere else to turn. AAI has recently expanded our dental program to Yattaya,  where we will open our first dedicated  Free Dental Clinic  in July 2016. Our facility will treat over 3000 people living with terrible pain this year in the Yattaya and Yimbaya areas once we open. In a region where poverty and suffering are extreme, and where dental care is simply not available or affordable, we focus on treating the most severe conditions first. Following treatment, patients are given dental kits and shown how to use them so they can begin managing their oral health properly, helping to avoid dental disease in the future.  Under the experienced local leadership of Dr. Karim Keita, also a veteran of Mercy Ships, we plan to expand our treatment program from an intermittent basis to a permanent one this year.

Sustainability

AAI has entered into an agreement with the Conakry Dental School for our clinic to serve as the training facility for the next generation of local dentists. Graduating dental students will intern in our Yattaya clinic, which will provide them the opportunity to treat patients in a Western standard, fully equipped clinical facility. This level of clinical experience has never been available in Guinea before, but it is crucial to developing a proper and professional dental sector locally. By training local dentists properly and providing them with a high standard of equipment and supplies, AAI aims to create a local industry that will serve the needs of the local population on a permanent basis. Locals serving locals in local facilities is our vision for a sustainable solution to the West African dental crisis.

 

Our next dental clinic is scheduled for July 2016, when we aim to treat over 700 patients and distribute another 5000 dental kits. The cost of treatment per patient in the AAI program is only $30 and the cost of the dental kits we provide are only $3.50 each.

Think about it – for $30 you can save someone from a painful condition for life!

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