A group of three dental students are to embark on an elective project which will see them make a real impact on the oral health of locals in the Peruvian city of Arequipa.
Fourth-year students from Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry, Sarah Khalil, Sapna Patel and Amreeta Aytain will visit Peru with overseas elective experts Work the World.
The students, who are in the process of learning Spanish for the trip, are using the popular fundraising site Crowdfunder to attempt to raise money for the £3010 each they need to take the trip.
This particular region in Peru is in dire need of improved dental care, with 1.2 dentists per 10,000 people, compared to 5.2 per 10,000 in the UK, as well as a reliance on sugary drinks raising the incidence of dental disease.
Sarah, Sapna and Amreeta will work across two hospitals – the oldest hospital in Peru, and then the largest – offering them useful experience in busy hospital environments which will require them to perform, for example, extractions, scalings, fillings and maxilo-facial surgery
Sarah said: “Peru is an area of the world where, in most instances, resources are directed at basic medical care and even that can be limited. Oral health tends to be lower on the list of priorities, both for patients and the health system, so we can expect to see and treat people whose dental disease is advanced.
“As a result we will get the opportunity to observe, diagnose and treat oral conditions which are rare in the UK, while at the same time making a real difference to the oral health of the patients we will see. We are really looking forward to our trip, and we hope that people will help us make difference to oral health in Peru by supporting our project via Crowdfunder.”
Professor Elizabeth Kay, Foundation Dean for the Peninsula Dental School, Plymouth University and trustee of the British Dental Health Foundation commented: "Electives are an effective way for our students to work in dental health care in other parts of the world, to apply what they have learned here to the benefit of patients and colleagues in other countries, and to bring home with them a new layer of experience which develops them as individuals and adds to their sense of professionalism. I wish Sarah, Sapna and Amreeta well for their trip to Peru."
To support the students in their project, you can donate to their Crowdfunder here.