Chiswick Dental Team In New Year Charity Visit To Burma
Fundraising to help people in remote areas with high levels of dental decay
Chiswick dentist Dr. Mike Clarke and members of his dental practice team will travel to Burma in January 2016 to help bring dental care to one of the most remote areas of the country. He will be leading a team of four dentists and three dental nurses from his practice for his third visit in under three years for the burmadent charity.
Dr. Mike Clarke
Mike, who practices in the Chiswick Health Centre and in Burlington Road, will visit areas where children are in daily dental pain from decay as their diet relies greatly on sugar cane from the fields. All volunteers pay their own travel, accommodation and living expenses, as well as the vaccinations needed to operate safely. Funds are now needed to carry out their work.
Says Mike: "Our Burmadent Charity is very small, with 5 Trustees who run the Charity on a shoestring. All donations that we receive are used to support Dentists and Dental Health professionals such as nurses and hygienists, who volunteer to undertake dental care in Burma. We fundraise to pay for equipment, materials, local anaesthetics and needles etc. Additionally funds raised via our JustGiving page are used directly to help towards the travel and accommodation costs."
The team works in primitive conditions
In the three visits, the team has treated well over 2000 children, mainly for extractions and fillings, as well as dental health education to teach about diet and oral hygiene. They have also examined and have applied topical fluoride as a preventative measure to many more impoverished or orphaned children.
"On this excursion we are looking forward to using our two field-hospital dental units that we have managed to purchase and send over to Burma, which pack into suitcases. This will allow us to reach schools and orphanages much further afield. We will continue to help the needy in the area surrounding Lake Inle, both in rudimentary clinics as well as on table tops in schools and orphanages.
"We are desperately looking for financial support for both our own volunteering trip from West London Dental Centres, as well as for the Burmadent Charity."
Children learn how to brush their teeth
"All funds raised through our JustGiving page go to the Charity directly and are held for our excursion. It would be fantastic if a company was able to sponsor the Burmadent project on an ongoing basis which would enable us to be more expansive in our mission to help the many children living in the worst poverty in Burma. Even modest amounts on a regular basis would make a huge difference to our work there," he says.
Mike was inspired by the example of a colleague and friend Dr. Henrik Overgaard-Neilson and his wife Sharon Bierer, who travelled to Burma in the spring of 2012 as tourists and visited lake Inle, a remote area in the northeast of the country with no nearby city.
An outside clinic
"They sadly saw first-hand the terrible dental condition of the population, in particular the children, many of whom are orphans and live in poverty. Burma is recognised as one of the poorest countries in the whole world and so dental care is virtually non existent.
"In the villages around lake Inle, there is a population of approximately 200,000 but no dentist to help treat the children in particular, many of whom live in daily pain from their badly decayed teeth. Their diet relies greatly on sugar cane from the fields, as they have no money to buy food, and toothbrushes are virtually unknown."
Henrik and Sharon decided to try to do something to make a difference. When they returned to the UK, they set up the charity burmadent, and developed plans to revisit the area to provide dentistry to the poor around lake Inle. Now Mike and his team are continuing the work they started.