This week we had the absolute pleasure of meeting Dr Simon Stretton-Downes OBE BDS and hearing about The Trinity Dental Clinic and Training Centre in Liberia. Liberia has a population of over 5 million and just 7 dentists.
Simon has been the Principal Dentist at Trinity Dental Clinic, as a volunteer, since 2017 and led the construction of the new clinic in 2019. He was awarded an OBE for services to dentistry in Africa in 2021.
Simon talked with the Market Place Dental team about the challenges of dentistry in Liberia where oral diseases pose a major health burden for most people. These affects are profound and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death.
The impacts of poor oral health are far reaching across the population and have severe consequences for health, including the economic and social development of Liberia.
The most common oral disease observed in Liberia is dental caries (or tooth decay), which if left untreated can result in serious complications such as sepsis.
Other oral diseases include periodontal diseases, trauma, oral manifestations resulting from general diseases and oral cancers. Importantly, most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated successfully in their early stages with access to basic and regular dental care. In addition to this, the burden of oral diseases can be reduced in the population by effective community prevention to promote oral health awareness, key prevention messages and self-care.
In addition to The Trinity Dental Clinic, Simon is now leading the project to develop Dental Therapist training and building a new Training Centre. It is this project that is the focus of Market Place Dental's fundraising activities for the next few months. This video shows some of the incredible work they do, and the difference they are making to people's lives.
The Trinity Dental Clinic and Training Centre is a project managed through SIM Liberia, part of the Serving In Mission international Christian charity; training and treatment are offered to people of all faiths, and none.
For further information on the life changing and life saving work the clinic does, and ways that you can help, please see their website: https://ldts.org/