Uganda Dental Team (140926UGDE)
MTI provides primary health care to refugees at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Nakivale and Oruchinga settlements in SW Uganda, just north of the Tanzania border and along the DRC border. We now oversee all six health clinics in the settlements, providing life-saving medical and health services to refugees and neighboring communities, which reaches around 70,000 refugees. These refugees are primarily from Congo... but there are also many from Rwanda, Burundi, and Somalia. Our overall goal for our staff and volunteer teams is to contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality among the refugee populations in Nakivale and Oruchinga settlements of SW Uganda.
Dental teams in SW Uganda work to care for the dental needs of refugees in the SW Uganda settlements. Apart from these teams, refugees have no immediate access to dental services. MTI now sends approximately two dental teams per year to the settlements. While serving there, dental teams treat approximately 50 patients per day, performing many surgical extractions for many patients, primarily children. Dental teams also seek to provide hands on training to local staff and oral hygiene training to those seeking services.
Challenges you expect they may encounter:
Dental teams serve for 3 weeks in SW Uganda in a challenging work environment. Team members must be flexible, patient, and physically ready as they travel to and from clinics for over an hour on rough roads daily, treat a variety of complex conditions, and work long hours in clinic conditions that are not always conducive to working norms in the US. Dental teams serve refugees from various countries; they must work to communicate through a translator and adapt to cultural expectations and values among those they are serving.
Dental teams work in MTI health clinics in the SW Uganda refugee settlement that are supported by MTI Uganda national staff. Thus, dental team volunteers work alongside MTI national staff members daily. In SW Uganda, MTI partners with UNCHR, the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and the Uganda Office of the Prime Minister.
Statement from team:
How can I stay at home with all the comforts my life provides when the people I love in Uganda are in desperate need of help! My work in Uganda has been the most meaningful and fulfilling time of my life. I have found riches which no amount of money can buy.
Terri L Erickson
Terri Erickson and Roger Erickson