The people of the surrounding communities of Rosita in rural Nicaragua have little access to health care: there is only 1 dentist for every 50,000 people. In coordination with the Ministry of Health (MINSA) and Accion Medica Cristiana (AMC), the Smiles for Everyone Foundation took action to deliver smiles to those in need by sponsoring mobile dental care outreaches, assisting 10 different communities over the course of 9 days.
Communities with extremely limited access to health services were chosen as priority sites for medical care. These sites exist between 20 and 80 kilometers from the municipality of Rosita. From September 3-8, mobile units ventured into rural communities by horseback to deliver both integrated general medical services and dental care. These services included consultations, vaccines, prenatal care, and more. From September 17-19, teams focused on dental care, providing mainly extractions and prophylactic cleanings. In addition, volunteers educated the communities on dental health, concentrating on the importance of deciduous teeth and preventative care.
The budget provided by the Smiles for Everyone Foundation supported pre-outreach set up and communications, dental supplies and materials, cleaning materials, staff supervision, and travel expenses.
Patients were extremely grateful for the pro bono dental services, and some wanted to share their stories:
Kenia Rodriguez is 16 years old and lives in the community of San Antonio de Banacruz. She walked one hour to receive an extraction from the mobile dental team. Without the SFEF outreach, Kenia would have to make the difficult trip to Rosita by walking to the main part of town and taking a long bus ride into the city. Once there, she would have to wait in turn for dental care at MINSA or a private dental clinic and then journey all the way home again. For Kenia, one trip to the dentist would cost a week of her family’s income.
Daneris Guillen is 17 years old and knows the importance of dental care: “… it is important, because we can maintain our teeth and keep them healthy.” Therefore, he walked 1.5 hours in the rain to attend the mobile outreach in San Antonio de Banacruz. Without the SFEF outreach, Daneris would have to make a day long trip into Rosita, where he would have to spend several days’ wages to receive treatment.
Reina Gaitan is 28 years old and the mother of three children. She attended the outreach in Buenos Aires 2, where there is no electricity and no running water. Reina rode a truck for 1 hour, walked 2 miles up a big hill, crossed a river, and trudged through mud to reach the event, where she had two teeth extracted. She helps her children have better teeth than her by ensuring they brush in the morning, at noon when they come home from school and before going to bed.
Overall, the mobile outreach treated 548 patients and performed 1122 extractions and 27 prophylactic cleanings!