Up to 70 patients a day – training for dentists – dental laboratory to be expanded The dental clinic run by Shelter Now in the Afghan city of Herat is to be expanded: Shelter Now will shortly be sending a fifth dentist's chair to Afghanistan along with further equipment. We are also in the process of building up a dental laboratory.
Up to 70 patients a day – training for dentists – dental laboratory to be expanded
The dental clinic run by Shelter Now in the Afghan city of Herat is to be expanded: Shelter Now will shortly be sending a fifth dentist's chair to Afghanistan along with further equipment. We are also in the process of building up a dental laboratory. The clinic, which was opened in 2009 under the supervision of German-Iranian dentist Dr. Azar Eyni, is said to be the most advanced in the country, with European standards of dental care and hygiene.
It was the Herat public health bureau that gave us the rooms for the clinic. Every day, between 50 and 70 patients come to the “International Dental Clinic” for an examination or treatment. It's particularly popular amongst poorer people, who only have to pay an extremely low fee. The standard of dental care in Afghanistan is disastrous: owing to a complete lack of prophylactic programs, many people suffer from dental problems and chronic pain. They no longer eat properly as they are hardly able to chew. In addition to the dental treatment, the clinic therefore also runs an oral health program: the patients are taught about the importance of oral hygiene and shown how to clean their teeth effectively. “We give out free toothbrushes, toothpaste and glasses for rinsing to poor families – as far as our funds will allow”, says Azar Eyni. Azar studied in Germany and worked there as a dentist for a number of years before going to Afghanistan.
Azar heads up the clinic, treats patients and does teaching too: she currently has two Afghan dentists working at the clinic who are receiving further training at the same time; five dental assistants are also being trained up. “I urgently need another dentist – male or female – from abroad, who would be able to support and relieve me, as well as a dental technician”, she says. She would also be grateful for any donations to help fund a program for children, involving routine dental checks and teaching on oral hygiene in schools. But first the clinic is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a virtually brand new dentists' chair that has been donated along with other technical equipment, sterile drill bits and plenty of hand-held instruments. Shelter Now Director Udo Stolte says the German armed forces will take care of the transport.
Word of the clinic's good reputation has spread – even amongst German politicians: Last summer, Germany's former Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung described the clinic as a “very practical project that has been well thought through and is genuinely helping the people of Afghanistan”.