The initiative is to help increase access to dental care for under served communities in Malawi
Henry Schein Dental UK, along with the charity organisation Dentaid and the Scottish Government-funded international development project The MalDent Project, are helping to increase access to dental care for under served individuals in Malawi. As part of an ongoing initiative led by the MalDent project to build Malawi’s first purpose-built dental hospital and school, Henry Schein Dental UK, The MalDent Project, and Dentaid recently helped enhance two central hospitals in the community by repairing existing and installing new equipment in the dental departments and preparing dental chairs for installation in peripheral medical centres. The dental hospital and school will support Malawi’s new Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree programme at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences.
Chris Cox from Henry Schein Dental UK, Stuart Bassham from Dentaid, and Jeremy Bagg from The MalDent Project and the University of Glasgow participated in a service trip to help enhance the equipment and materials available at the two central hospitals. At Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre, they repaired and maintained compressed air supplies by restoring electrical connections and renovating the floors throughout the treatment centre. At Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, they helped to upgrade the dental treatment, oral surgery, and clinical skills departments by repairing and servicing several existing units and installing new dental equipment. The team also visited Kamuzu University of Health Sciences to meet senior staff members and spend time with the dental students studying in Malawi.
“The reality is that with only a small number of dentists to serve an entire population, many individuals in Malawi lack proper dental care, a basic necessity that many of us take for granted,” said Chris Cox, Product Manager, Henry Schein Dental UK. “I’ve seen first-hand the complications that poor oral health can cause, and it is important that everyone has access to dental care. That is why I continue to support this cause in any way that I can, and I am honoured to have been able to contribute to this initiative.”
In support of Kamuzu Central Hospital, a dental chair was installed in the oral surgery theatre. Previously, all patients requiring oral surgical procedures had to lie flat, which hindered comfortable patient positioning and limited access for the dental team. The new unit has helped to make the treatment more effective and more comfortable for both the patient and the dentist. The dental chair, along with other equipment, was donated by Dentaid.
In addition to the dental chair installation, the following items were completed at Kamuzu Central Hospital:
- Dental simulators were installed in the clinical skills department and existing simulators were serviced to keep them in good working order. This equipment will help the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences double the amount of pre-clinical students training in the Kamuzu Central Hospital at a time.
- Hands-on user training was provided for the dental students, helping to build their knowledge of the equipment. Furthermore, these simulators are also used by dental therapy students from the neighbouring College of Health Sciences, adding to the educational value of the upgraded simulation facility.
- Seven further treatment centres were serviced and prepared to be brought into rural community medical centres across the country and installed by the local biomedical engineers. This allows the health care providers to conduct more check-ups and preventive dental care for the community, without them having to travel great distances.
- Henry Schein Dental UK also donated tools, spare parts, and service kits for the biomedical engineers to utilise moving forward.
“At Henry Schein, we have a long-standing commitment to advancing health equity and advocating for and raising awareness of the needs of under served communities who are disparately disadvantaged,” said Patrick Allen, Managing Director, Henry Schein Dental UK, Ireland, South Africa, and The Nordics. “Supporting the first purpose-built dental hospital and school in Malawi reflects our continued efforts to increase access to care for under served populations, and we are dedicated to being a catalyst for change to help improve access to quality, affordable health care.”
In addition to the maintenance projects, Henry Schein Dental UK is also helping to design a training programme for the biomedical engineers in Malawi to help address the need for enhancing dental equipment maintenance and repair skills in the community. In these various ways, Henry Schein Dental UK, Dentaid, and the MalDent Project, together with a new partner, Medical Aid International, are working together to positively impact the future of oral care in Malawi.
The MalDent Project is a collaboration between the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (formerly the University of Malawi College of Medicine) and the University of Glasgow Dental School with a goal to spread important oral health messages to remote and rural communities. Its core funding is provided by the Scottish Government International Development Programme. Henry Schein Dental UK has partnered with the MalDent Project to help provide ongoing support for the creation of the dental hospital and school.
For more than 25 years, Dentaid has been working to improve access to safe, sustainable dental care and oral health education projects in the UK and globally. Henry Schein Dental UK has partnered with Dentaid on dental equipment donations and other technical support projects in the past.
This Malawi initiative is part of Henry Schein Cares, the Henry Schein’s corporate social responsibility programme. Henry Schein Cares stands on five pillars: empowering Team Schein to reach their potential, advancing health equity and expanding access to care for under served communities, accelerating environmental sustainability, strengthening, and diversifying our supply chain, and maintaining strong ethical governance. Health care activities supported by Henry Schein Cares focus on four main areas: (1) wellness, treatment, prevention, and education; (2) capacity building; (3) emergency preparedness and disaster response; and (4) health system strengthening.
Photo Caption: Chris Cox from Henry Schein Dental UK and Stuart Bassham from Dentaid working with Malawian therapists and biomedical engineers, providing them experiential training on dental chair installation – part of a link with Medical Aid International.