This past June I had the pleasure of working at Karoli Lwanga Hospital in Nyakibale, Uganda. The hospital has a basic dental room but has lacked the services of a dentist for many years. Before arriving I was concerned that dental services would not be a priority in an area with broader health issues such as malaria, HIV and malnutrition.
However, after a look into the packed waiting room on the first day I knew we had a niche. Over the next several weeks, with the help of the dental technician Jackline Nazareth and the full support of the hospital staff we were able to treat hundreds of patients and provide preventive education and dental screenings at elementary schools in Nakibale and Rukungiri. The people of Uganda, from the patients to the staff, students and parish priest were most gracious and appreciative. It made the whole experience very fulfilling. I feel I gained much more than I gave.
It was great to spend time with (and work alongside) the wonderful volunteers from MDA; surgeon Dr.William and Kate Walsh, LMH (Jeff and Courtney Caiola family, Diana Sherrod RN, and Marie McGee RN at Mutolere/Kisoro), and Patricia (RN volunteer from Tazmania who taught me to appreciate the gustatory splendor of matoke, (mashed plantains) beans and g-nut sauce (peanut sauce) ). Their dedication and friendship has been inspiring. Thank you to Mission Doctors Association for all your help. It was a definite “Win/Win”.