When members of the 1st Presbyterian Church, Fargo, ND, visited the Kikuyu Hospital Dental Clinic in 2009, they were encouraged to travel to the PCEA Chogoria Hospital. Chogoria is a small village located in central Kenya, nestled at the base of Mt. Kenya. This hospital had an existing dental clinic that was very active in serving the rural and poor population. We were surprised to learn how they provided amazing services with very basic equipment and supplies.
The hospital administration asked if we would be interested in assisting them with upgrading the dental clinic. First Presbyterian Church was eager to answer the call, once again, to build a modern dental clinic to serve adults and children that would provide immediate comprehensive and preventive services to the general public with special emphasis on the poorest segments of society. Once again, designing, planning and fundraising began. We could build a new four treatment room unit on the second floor of a new building within the hospital complex. With the assistance of Patterson Dental Fargo, ND, and a Kenyan architect with Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK), the clinic was designed
A-dec, once again partnered in providing treatment room equipment. CMMB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) donated the shipping of the container from New York to Mombasa. After multiple attempts for over a year to complete the necessary paper work—and to avoid Kenyan import taxes—the container was shipped in May 2013.
The long-awaited container full of equipment and supplies arrived, and a Patterson Dental equipment specialist traveled to Kenya to install the equipment. Everyone at the hospital and in the community was very excited about their new, modern clinic when the clinic was open for operation in late summer of 2014.
The vision of the clinic is to provide quality comprehensive and preventive dental services in a pleasaant environment, adhering to the highest quality porcedures and guidelines. Outreach projects and medical/dental camps bring care to communities unable to travel to the clinic, and volunteers assist in patient services and educational opportunities. One aim of the clinic is to improve the oral health status for at risk families.
“The Tharaka Smile Outreach Project has a focus on preventive advocacy that will address the root causes of dental disease and dental pain. The project proposes to reduce dental decay in children by training the Community Oral Health Officers (COHO) trainers, school going children and their teachers, parents and caregivers on good oral health practices that will reduce the dental disease burden greatly and encourage preventive measures among those who cannot afford the cost of dental treatment. Research has shown that investing in preventive dental education has positive ripple effects through families, the community and also helps tackle poverty. The planned dental outreach will impact the next generation positively in terms of prevention of dental disease through a multifaceted approach.” (Dr. Hawa Nyaboga Okiya, Dentist in Charge, Chogoria Dental Clinic)