Charity work in Tanzania with bridge2aid

John Makin recounts his time in Tanzania with the charity Bridge2aid.

Travelling overseas is always a rewarding experience to learn about new cultures and to push yourself out of your comfort zone. There is the opportunity to learn how local dentists work, when you take an elective placement, often with extremely limited resources. In short, the whole experience will boost your professional and personal development and be a stimulating and rewarding experience.

In 2017, I was fortunate enough to travel to Tanzania with the charity Bridge2aid (B2A), observing their training of local healthcare workers. This equips them with the essential skills needed to offer safe emergency dental treatment.

Since 2004, B2A’s work has given access to emergency care for over five million people.

Hope dental centre

I travelled to the city of Mwanza where I visited Hope Dental Centre. Supported by the UK dental equipment industry, it has been run by B2A to help fund its charitable training activities as well as providing dental care in a city where previously there was none.

charity Bridge2aid
Charity bridge2aid medical officer

The clinic is now a separate charitable entity, with its own education and outreach programme. From Mwanza, I flew across Lake Victoria to Bukoba to see first-hand one of the local training projects delivered by B2A volunteers. Arriving in the village, the training session was already underway, with a queue of patients, some of whom had walked for more than four hours. They collect their numbered stickers then wait their turn in the open air waiting room.

During this time, local dental officers were using audience participation to educate locals, offering oral hygiene and dietary advice. The B2A volunteers there work efficiently as a team to ensure that a steady…

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