Our clinics are housed temporarily in a nearby primary school building or similar community center. The facilities are always run down as Nepal is a resource poor country. However, this presents a challenge to us to convert the place into an opportunity to bring forth the power of grassroots level activism. Cleaning, sanitizing the temporary clinic after the makeover is always a challenge but also it presents up the opportunity to the collaborating Nepalese professionals/students a peek view of the minimum acceptable standards of sanitation and sterilization that need to be maintained at any given facility. We quickly set up different work spaces, and separate rooms for registration/screening of patients, OHI, fluoride application, scaling, filling, extraction, pharmacy, sterilizing, stores, changing room/pantry, and generator. Inside the clinic, the clinical head is the supervising dentist who, along with another dentist, comes from our partner dental teaching hospital in Kathmandu. In true style of oriental wisdom, the supervisor becomes your friend, philosopher and guide.
The dental hygienists/assistants and local volunteer translators also help the overseas volunteers in the assigned dental chairs. Initially we work in pairs, but once your level of expertise and skill is known to the supervisor the work can also be assigned individually. We are supported by a phalanx of local volunteers for patient traffic management outside. The outreach venue is always busy. You will find that what they teach you theoretically in the dental school back home becomes a state of substance. You will experience wielding newly acquired skills in the clinic, as reality is augmented by the setting in which you are practicing your craft. Even for the experienced, this project will provide you with challenges different and unique to anything back home.
When our patients feel this sense of belonging, our clinics become a heaven; a break from the miserable night spent due to the tooth ache, and a place where you know your ailment will be taken care of. It’s about understanding oral care, preventing dental problems, and cherishing a great smile. Always full of humanity. Human empathy at its best.