Shelter Now opens new dental clinic in Afghanistan

January 26, 2016

The provincial capital of Herat gets a training clinic for dental medicine. Dental service for schools planned.


After a lengthy preparation phase, the aid organization “Shelter Now International” was able to open a new dental clinic on 6th January 2016 in the Afghan city of Herat.

The goal of this project is firstly to offer a dental hygiene programme for school children at both state and private schools, and where necessary to allow them to be treated at the clinic, and secondly to help with practical training for dentistry students. Until now students at the state college lacked opportunities to practice - first on dental training models and then in the treatment of patients under the supervision of their teachers.

The opening ceremony was attended by important personalities from the government and medicine: the first secretary of the economics ministry, the president of the University of Herat, representatives of the students and many more.



After several speeches, the German regional director of Shelter Now, Ewald Göttler, gave a presentation, showing how the dental clinic had developed and highlighting the urgent need for more trained dentists in Afghanistan. By way of comparison:
in Germany there are 8 dentists for every 10,000 inhabitants, 
in Afghanistan that figure is less than 0.5 per 10,00 inhabitants.

It was for this reason, that the Afghan government set up a dental faculty in Herat two years ago, which takes in 120 new students each year.The government is aiming to double the number of dentists in Afghanistan within five years, a goal which should be achieved thanks to two new dental faculties – in Herat and in Kunduz. By opening this training clinic, Shelter Now has managed to take the first step in offering the students practical training opportunities.


After the speeches and a break for refreshments, all the visitors were shown around the clinic, so they could see for themselves how clean, hygienic and modern the facility is. And there of course had to be an official opening moment where the ribbon was cut.

After further refreshments, the visitors were able to leave for home in the certainty that this clinic can and will be an important step in giving Afghanistan many well-trained and experienced dentists in the future.


A few facts:


Equipment at the clinic:

  • 4 treatment units (including one mobile unit)

  • X-ray machine

  • 11 “mini units” for the students’ initial practice phase using dental training models

Planned annual capacity of the dental project:

  • 4'000 school children will receive instruction on dental hygiene and be provided with a “dental hygiene pack”

  • 3'000 school children will receive treatment

  • 2'000 other patients (mostly people with no means to pay a dentist) will receive treatment

  • 120-360 dental students will receive practical training

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