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Dental Health

AHEAD has been committed to improving health care and delivering opportunities for happiness to people in the gravest need in rural areas of Tanzania and the Gambia. This was the impetus for initiating the AHEAD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Program in collaboration with Project Change and the Comprehensive Community Based and Rehabilitation Hospital in Tanzania (CCBRT).
This initiative was the brainchild of AHEAD Board of Director, Dr. Deborah Tuzo, DDS, MPH, who in 2006, decided she wanted to bring more smiles to the children of Tanzania and their families.

A renowned orthodontic surgeon and public health expert, Dr. Tuzo developed a partnership between these three entities to establish this life enhancing program which identifies children and young adults in need a facial reconstructive surgery to correct the disfigurement caused by congenital cleft palates and cleft lips (as well as other structurally disfiguring and dental maladies). AHEAD recognizes that cleft palates and lips are a major problem in Tanzania. Children suffering from this problem face difficult lives; they are malnourished because they can not eat, they are at high risk for infection, and are often rejected, socially ostracized, and unable to find work.

With the surgical expertise of Project Change founder, Dr. Chris Johnson-Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Tuzo, and their team of professionals, and the staff at CCBRT, AHEAD has established a mechanism where the patients, their families and the AHEAD health professionals partner together to make this a seamless and successful surgical journey for all involved. Each patient and their families, identified by AHEAD medical personnel in need of this surgical intervention are sponsored and supported by AHEAD through the entire pre- and post-operative surgical process. Under this banner, these families, all from remote villages, are transported to Dar es Salaam. Here they are educated and counseled about the surgery and the potential outcomes. All are housed and fed while the patient undergoes a through evaluation and optimization of medical issues before surgery.

An operative plan is secured, and then the patient undergoes this dramatic and life enhancing surgical intervention; all free of charge. Since its first successful surgery in 2007, the AHEAD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Program has helped over 30 children in rural Tanzania to smile for the first time in their lives, by repairing their facial defects and helping to give them a lift toward a healthy existence. Dr. Tuzo notes “this partnership is an extraordinary experience, where by working together, we are able to witness firsthand, the dramatic improvements that our work accomplishes in the lives of these patients and their families!”

Phase II of our Dental Health Program 2016-17

(Minor Surgical Ward for the Mouth and Teeth)

Minor surgical ward for the mouth and teeth

As you see in the picture, the dental clinic at the Maruku Dispensary consists of a room, a desk, a bench and a miniscule amount of supplies. A patient with a toothache enters the room, sits on the bench, raises their chin towards the light. They are anesthetized, and then their tooth is extracted. Recent research indicates how oral health impacts total body health. Maruku dispensary sees approximately 60-70 patients a day, and dental infections are some of the common diseases they see regularly. Your generous donation towards the shipment of dental equipment and supplies to establish a proper dental operatory at the Maruku Dispensary is greatly appreciated.

Basic Dental Care for Villagers

“Dental care is an anchor of a healthy body.” Dental diagnoses can detect many abnormalities, including heart disease, diabetes, as well as some cancers. For this reason even impoverished villagers need access to basic dental care with adequate and up-to-date dental equipment and supplies.

Maruku Dental Clinic

Inside The Dental Clinic