South Tyneside dentist to provide emergency treatment to hundreds in Tanzania
A Jarrow dentist is travelling to Tanzania to put smiles back on the faces of hundreds of pain-ridden patients.
Louise Ward, who has worked at Grange Road West Dental Practice in Jarrow for 15 years, will travel to the country in April 2020 with charity Bridge2Aid.
The 38-year-old is currently raising money to fund the trip, during which she will spend two weeks volunteering in clinics in rural communities.
With a group of 10 dentists and dental nurses she will provide emergency treatment and training which could improve thousands of lives.
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, to give something back to the world,” said the Sunderland mum-of-two.
“We have these skills and two weeks out of our life is nothing, but it can make a huge difference to them.”
As well as treating hundreds of patients each day, the charity also aims to train local healthcare workers to be able to carry out simple procedures.
The group will train six workers, who can each look after 10,000 patients, increasing dental access for a total of 60,000 people over the course of the two weeks.
“It’s about leaving a long-term legacy as well,” said Louise.
“If you have a toothache here you are seen straight away, but some of these people have been in pain for years.
“It affects their life and their livelihood because they have to give up work or school. Some may have been ostracised from their families or villages because they have swellings and it can lead to death, when often the solution is simply extracting a tooth.”
She continued: “The clinics are really busy, every day there will be hundreds of people waiting for us who may have walked for hours, so it’s going to be hard work and very emotional, but hopefully it will make a huge difference.”
Louise is hoping to raise at least £1,000 to cover the costs of the trip and the aid work the charity will carry out in Tanzania.
“All of my friends, family and patients have been very generous and supportive,” Louise added.
“The more we can raise the more we can do while we’re out there.”
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louisedentist