UCC students head out to Ghana

Group will provide oral hygiene care and advice

A group of fourth-year Cork University Dental School students will shortly be jetting off to West Africa to provide advice and treatment as part of the Dental Outreach Project.

Nana Ansong, Sheila Dineen, Anand Iyer, Komal Lamba, Mairead McLoughlin, Kayrin Ong, Disen Phuah and Aisling Whitaker will be putting months of fundraising to good use as they head off to Ghana.

The group has spent the last year undertaking a diverse range of fundraising including marathons, bake sales, waxing, raffles and plenty of bucket shaking in order to help subsidise their trip. The money they have raised will go towards the cost of dental materials and facilities, patient administration, visas and subsidised travel to Africa.

Once they out in Ghana, the project will involve many aspects of oral hygiene and care including a wide range of dental treatments. The students will work in both dental units within a large hospital and in remote communities, schools and orphanages. As the project is based in developing countries they will often be working with limited resources and basic facilities.

Given the nature of the outreach project, the students have been told to expect to see many oral conditions in their advanced stages, as many patients either cannot afford regular dental check-ups or there are too few dentists available.

Nana Ansong, one of the fourth years heading out to Africa, explained his reasons for going on the trip. He said: “In the Summer of 2010, I had the wonderful oppurtunity to visit my roots in Ghana and shadow a dentist first hand. The experience was very humbiling as well as eye-opening to the difficulties in accessing dental care and the unfortunate consequences of being unable to afford emergency treatment in these understaffed areas.

“Four years later, my passion for this project stems from it being an oppurtunity to go and and make a difference in the very same communities I visited. We will conduct a wide range of dental treatments from dental check-ups, fillings and extractions to endodontics and surgical procedures.”