Our Rotary Club was pleased to support the Team Leader Rotarian and Dental Surgeon Dr Vivienne Valladares to the recent Vocational Training Team trip to Vanuatu in June. We also sponsored one of the Dentists travelling with the team (Dr Agnetha Valladares) and hosted the Farewell Dinner at Elizabeth.
Friday, 26 June 2015
Wow – what an incredible two weeks.
Thursday, 25 June 20
Today marked our last day in the PCV Clinic and dental van.
Viv tackled the chronic influx of patients with Gloria and Bob working two rooms in the clinic with Susan and I managing as many patients as possible in the van. Most of the afternoon today we dedicated to preparing the dental van for its voyage tomorrow to the remote village of Paungnisu, where we will be screening and treating children and adults. All in all a very busy day but one of reflection on the many people we have helped so far. Tomorrow if we have 47 teeth to remove we will reach a landmark 500 extractions in 2 weeks! An early departure of 7am to get to where we need to be requires an early night – so good night all and we shall report tomorrow! Alicia
Wednesday, 24 June 201
Tuesday, 23 June 20
In the van, Mum and Alicia saw the children previously screened for requiring treatment at the Vila Central school for restorative treatment, extractions, oral hygiene instruction and fluoride. We have discovered during our time here, that the dental decay rate in children we have been screening, aged 3-7 years, is very high, with many needing extractions or extensive restorations. Consumption of sweets in this age group is high, including fruits, and brushing is not done as often as recommended, sometimes without toothpaste. A 3 year old patient I examined today, for example, had 6 decayed upper front baby teeth, due to a diet high in fruits, and no brushing because his mother said he does not like toothpaste. This is not that uncommon to child patients in Australia. We have been focusing on education in schools for children to understand the importance of brushing teeth, and a healthier diet.
The weather is Port Vila has cooled down, with heavy rain last night, and cool winds today. We are hoping for some sunnier days before we return to wintery Australia this Sunday!
Monday, 22 June 20
Sunday, 21 June 201
Saturday, 20 June 2015
Weekend in paradise
Saturday, 20 June 2015
Life in the van
We attended our first Rotary meeting on the 17th, which happens on the lunch hour for the Rotarians in the club. We enjoyed a nice lunch with the club, listened in on various club activities and projects, and heard a presentation from a group from Victoria, Australia, who are in Vanuatu to organise a Cricket team for over 60 year olds. The club primarily consists of expats from all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, and Korea. Our own presentation was very well received, as we each gave our own stories of where we come from, our work histories and some background about Australian culture. Mum and Susan presented the President, and our accommodation host, Richard Purdie, with banners from the Elizabeth and Clare clubs, respectively, and were each presented with a banner for the Port Vila club. We distributed our brochures, cards and badges to our new alliances, and exchanged contact details, so we can keep them informed of our time in Vanuatu.
One of my most rewarding moments, was a patient I saw on Monday at the clinic, who was so grateful for whatever treatment she could get, and for it being free, that she must have said ‘thank you’ a hundred times! Then by chance, Alicia and I walked into a shop on our lunch break, and it happened to be the same store where she worked. She was so excited to see me again, she hugged me and had been telling all her co-workers about us, encouraging them to come too. I saw her again today for some further treatment, helping to restore her beautiful smile, she was so happy with the result she bought me a lovely dress and some earrings! I was so happy to have been able to make her so happy, and to have added another lovely friend to the list of people I hope to return to Vanuatu to meet again.
Friday, 19 June 2015
Stats for Friday: Viv, Michelle and Agnetha with Gloria the local dental assistant achieved an amazing 73 patient exams, 5 fillings and 24 extractions!! Susan, Bob (the Ni-Van dental assistant) and I tackled 2 endodontic preparations (the first stage of root canal), 3 fillings and 53 extractions!! What a day for us!! Today felt like we really made a difference.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Visiting the school
In case you think we’re working too hard here is our view from dinner:
Monday, 15 June 2015
First day in the clinic
The dental clinic consists of two dental chairs, Michelle occupied room 1 with Agnetha and I in room 2. Michelle’s treatment consisted of oral hygiene instruction, applying fluoride, cleaning teeth with scalers and diet instruction. After seeing today’s patients, Michelle noted that patients had a very good standard of oral care, however due to lack of dental resources gum issues (periodontal disease) was quite a common issue.
Next door saw Agnetha and I tackling a lot of extractions and fillings with adult patients. After sorting through foreign cupboards and finding our feet, Agnetha and I tackled up to 4 fillings and 1 extraction per patient within an hour appointment! Today marked my first day of manually processing x-rays with developer and fixer as in my day to day routine as a dental assistant in Alice Springs our radiographs are digitally processed! As they say you learn new things everyday!
After finishing the day at 4:30pm, the team already felt a great sense of achievement and were looking forward to the coming week. Alicia
Sunday, 14 June 2015
Starting out in Vanuatu
We picked up water and a few other essential supplies at the supermarket roaming around the aisles bumping into locals doing their weekly shop. We had the maximum security jail pointed out to us which consisted of a reasonably low barbed wire fence, a concrete building and a series of shipping containers, and yes it does house true maximum security prisoners. Interesting. After meandering our way through a few streets and up a few steps taking in the stunning seascape we met up with Gloria and Neville at the dental clinic where we had our first glance at our work base for the next 2 weeks, familiarizing ourselves with the equipment and materials.
The mobile dental van where will split our time between was parked on-site. The clinic and van were packed and ready for action and it is clear see how much work has gone on behind the scenes by a passionate and dedicated team, most of who volunteer their time to the project.
Sunday, 14 June 2015
Farewell dinner and arrival to Vanuatu!
Friday, 12 June 2015
We’re about to head to Vanuatu!
We look forward to sharing our experiences with you! Tata (goodbye in Bislama) Susan