Dr Paul Sherrard is set to make his fifth charity mission to Uganda this summer to provide greatly-needed dental care. He will be part of a team of medical professionals visiting remote communities without access to medical or dental treatment. They will take all their equipment with them to set up temporary clinics in the villages which have no electricity or running water. It is highly likely that the villagers will have never seen a dentist before.
Another team member will be Dr Sherrard’s son Edward who recently qualified as a dentist and now works in Newcastle.
Much of the dentistry on the two-week trip will be extracting teeth to relieve tooth ache. Dr Sherrard has extracted hundreds and hundreds of teeth on his four previous trips, but the team also give advice on diet and oral health, as well as leaving supplies of toothbrushes and toothpaste. A major cause of tooth decay in the Southern Uganda region they visit is grazing on sugar cane, an important local crop.
On previous trips the medical team have travelled for up to four hours by minibus each day along rough roads and mud tracks to reach the remote communities. Once the team had arrived and set up their clinic the villagers were happy to wait for hours to be seen. Dr Sherrard would work closely with an interpreter to explain the treatment needed.
The missions have been organised through the Wirral-based Rock of Joy Trust, a Christian charity which runs three schools in Uganda and offers care and sustainable support to their communities.
Current sustainable initiatives include solar cookers, planting coffee (a high yield crop) and working on the ecology of the Nile, one of the world’s most polluted rivers. Every other year the trust takes a group of 30 teenagers from Heswall Youth Fellowship to spend three weeks working at the schools.
Sadi Dr Sherrard: “The mission is always a hugely worthwhile experience. I have never seen such poverty and poor living conditions, and yet we see so many happy, smiling faces and have been able to help a lot of people in a short space of time.”
Dr Sherrard greatly appreciates the huge support he has received from patients and colleagues at Moreton Dental Care, as well as other local dentists, who have made generous donations to support his charity work.
Laura Hill, a dental nurse at MDC, was a member of the team on Dr Sherrard’s second trip.