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  • GraceWorks Myanmar

Seikkyi sees health gains from dental program

Yogamour funds community health projects through volunteer teams, and one of their projects is to bring dental care to poor, rural areas of Myanmar. The Yogamour team included Doctor Sissy Jimenez, dentist Dara Donnelly, and Rebeccah Bartlett (co-founder of Yogamour). They brought with them the expertise and equipment required to offer quality dental care – for free!

To meet urgent dental care needs in the communities of Seikkyi Island, just across the river from Yangon, GWM joined forces with Yogamour to facilitate a three-day free dental care clinic for community members. The clinic was run in the GWM community centre in Seikkyi Island.

The people living there are poor, and it is too expensive for them to cross the river and pay for doctor or dentist visits in Yangon. GWM has been working in the Seikkyi Island community since 2005, and one of our projects there has resulted in a community centre, which also functions partly as a health clinic. At the end of January, this centre hosted the three-day dental care clinic.

For Yogamour, this visit was an eye-opening experience. They have been working in Thailand and India for nearly a decade, but seldom come across such poor health conditions as they experienced in Seikkyi Island. One of the main concerns was from betel nut chewing and the damage it does to dental health.

Fortunately, the community was open and eager to learn, so the Yogamour team was able to hold some teaching sessions and raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene, as well as the dangers of chewing betel nut. Of course, there is always so much more to do, but the great thing about prevention is that it can be done by anyone. It’s just a matter of spreading the right information.

Altogether, in just three days, Dr Jimenez and dentist Donnelly saw 75 patients in total – 53 adults and 22 children. They performed a total of 227 procedures, including 50 extractions with local anaesthetics, 13 fillings, 13 silver diammine fluoride treatments, and 4 antibiotic treatments for infection.

The first project with Yogamour has been very successful, with a large number of patients having been seen and treated within a few days. If funding allows, GWM will be delighted to facilitate similar projects with Yogamour in the future.


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