Al­most 500 treated in 1st San­dals Den­tal Pro­gram

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The San­dals Foun­da­tion and Great Shape Inc. has wrapped up a com­pre­hen­sive two-week den­tal out­reach pro­gram in Saint Lu­cia, pro­vid­ing much­needed free den­tal care for ap­prox­i­mately 500 men, women and chil­dren from both the ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas of the is­land.

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Great Shape Inc. Joseph Wright said the team saw great re­sults from its first visit here and pre­dicted much greater im­pact in fu­ture vis­its.

“Our mis­sion has al­ways been to em­power the masses through free ac­cess to qual­ity health care and the San­dals Foun­da­tion has gone above and be­yond the call to en­sure that we are able to pro­vide such a ser­vice.

“We are very happy to have brought this pro­gram to another is­land and we hope we are able to make it an an­nual one here as well,” Wright said.

The pro­gram opened the doors for treat­ment on July 27, 2015 at the Marc­hand Com­bined School where a team of 25 vol­un­teer den­tists and other vol­un­teers saw and treated a to­tal of 250 peo­ple from within and around the Castries com­mu­nity.

Di­rec­tor of Pro­grams for the San­dals Foun­da­tion, Heidi Clarke said the over­whelm­ing suc­cesses of the pro­gram in its first year here could add con­sid­er­able sup­port to the ini­tia­tive’s pos­si­ble re­turn in 2016, where the in­ten­tion would be to in­crease the num­bers reached and pos­si­bly in­crease the num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties pen­e­trated.

“We are very happy about the num­bers this year, and like all things new we had ex­pected there to be teething pains with this ini­tial pro­gram. How­ever, the pro­gram went off with­out a hitch and we are look­ing for­ward to many happy re­turns,” Clarke said.

Dur­ing the ex­er­cise, mem­bers of Saint Lu­cia’s den­tal com­mu­nity were ex­posed to a se­ries of train­ing sem­i­nars held to broaden their knowl­edge base on new and im­proved tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies in first-world den­tal care.

On Mon­day Au­gust 3, a den­tal team of about 20 doc­tors and other vol­un­teers took the pro­gram to the Ca­naries com­mu­nity with a clinic at the Ca­naries Pri­mary School. The team treated ex­actly 174 pa­tients with com­plex and sim­ple cases.

The San­dals Foun­da­tion and Great Shape Inc. has part­nered on its den­tal out­reach pro­gram for sev­eral years in Ja­maica. This is the first year the pro­gram has been in­tro­duced to another is­land.

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