You’ve probably heard of general practitioners going on mission trips to third world countries to save lives of countless, the majority of whom are children. But, there are also a lesser known group of angels on earth that go around saving their teeth. Yes, dentists do go on such trips.The accounts of so many dentists around the world that have gone on these short, life-changing trips have one thing in common: the memories of the experience always bring them back. These dentists have to work with limited supplies and makeshift hospitals that see patients in need of immediate dental care.
These third-world countries are unable to even afford the menial amount required for them to effectively manage their personal hygiene. In Liberia, 85% of the population are employed informally and are only paid a very small wage. However, in a country that sees a population of 3.5 to 5 million, there are only three licensed dental practitioners. Even if they did have enough practitioners, the people would still be unable to afford the costs of dental care. This is where these missions work their charm.
However, this does not only happen in third-world countries. According to the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, there are 2,235 areas that were identified with shortage of dental professionals and 74% of them were rural areas, and the most affected people are the aborigines, who have limited access to dental care facilities.
In 2013, the United States Remote Area Medical had three remote clinics that offered free healthcare services in Harlan, Somerset and Pikeville, Kentucky. The people in these rural counties were lined up even before the clinics began operating and some of these people have not received dental care in years. Most of the cited low income, transportation and lack of medical insurance as some of the reasons why they were unable to receive proper dental treatment. The Appalachian tribe in southeastern Kentucky were also affected socio-economically after the world energy trends began shifting away from coal to other fossil fuels and this made it harder for them to afford healthcare.
These mission trips, albeit short, are life-changing for the people that are unable to afford the healthcare services available. Although there are a few options to explore that may enable these facilities to be brought to people in rural areas permanently, these missions are a spark of hope for these people and is an effective way to allow them their basic right to healthcare. For more info regarding dental-related concerns, just click on this link, www.dentistryblog.com.au.