Updated: Jul 6
The week of June 12, a Heart for Hope team joined with Cadena de Amor for a dental program in the large elementary school in Villa de San Francisco. The team from the United States included Dr. Joe Sharon and his daughter Abby. Also, Kathy Campbell and John Spomer traveled with the group to Honduras. Our partner NGO, Cadena de Amor, included Dra. Gloria, Dr. Jose, and Dr. Gustavo. Three young ladies from San Juancito, Julissa, Nicole, and Clarisa joined the group as additional assistants for the dentists. And as always, we have our Honduran cook, Emalina.
The first order of business is to set up the dental clinic in the large multi-purpose room in the elementary school. This school has over 800 students, so it is great that we had four dentists as providers. This allows the team reach over 300 students in one week. The set up occurs in one day and with the experience of the team members, we can usually have everything ready to go in about 4 hours.
As stated above, we can set up this clinic in one morning. This gives the team an afternoon to do a bit of sightseeing. Near the city of Villa de San Francisco is the town of Cantarranas. Over the past 5 years, this community has become quite an art center with a number of fantastic murals and sculptures. When we are in this area of Honduras, it is always fun to have a bit of time to visit and take pictures.
First thing Monday morning, the team arrives at the clinic. Dra. Gloria starts off each session with a 30-minute dental education lesson. She talks about the causes of dental decay, the importance of a good diet that does not have a lot of candy and sodas, and then the children are taught brushing techniques. Each child receives a toothbrush and practices brushing before they are seen by the dentists.
When the dental education session ends, the dentists and the assistants swing into action. Each session includes at least 35 children or 70 for each day. Many of the students will need considerable dental treatment, but the good news is that the dentists provide many more fillings than extractions. This has been the main goal of our dental program in Honduras. The dental education program over the past years has contributed to our seeing much improved oral hygiene with the students in the schools we have been visiting. The fact that many more teeth are restored than are extracted is quite rewarding for our dental providers.
It has been exciting to have Heart for Hope teams travel to Honduras this past year. We have several more teams in the works for the rest of 2022 and also for early 2023. If you should have a desire to join one of our teams, please use our website to contact us.