Dental Therapist Lives his Dream: Reaching the Rural Majority | YWAM Ships

Dental Therapist Lives his Dream: Reaching the Rural Majority

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Harold has one of those standout smiles. The type of smile that you want in all your photos – the type of smile you would describe as trusting, friendly and kind.

How fitting considering his profession – a dental therapist – and the only person with dental skills of any kind for 18,000 people.

Harold was trained at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby and started working at Tufi Health Centre, Oro Province, 14 years ago.

Harold’s clinic consists of a manual chair and a few instruments – no drill and no dental assistant.

With the severe lack of oral hygiene and chewing of betelnut on the rampage, the need is great – but Harold doesn’t complain, he only dreams of how he could do more.

When asked what he loves about his job and where his passion lies – he looks out across the water and his eyes begin to well up with tears.

“My passion is for the rural areas – those that have no dental services available to them – that is where I want to go,” said Harold

Harold lived that dream while working alongside YWAM Medical Ships – Australia’s (YWAM MSA) dental team on the MV YWAM PNG.

“We’ve been treating patients in remote villages in Oro and Morobe Provinces – most of the patients we’ve seen have never seen a dentist in their lifetime,” said Harold.

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Harold’s work hasn’t just been contained in the MV YWAM PNG’s onboard dental clinic – he traveled with a YWAM MSA primary health care team to villages along the Warrior River to provide dental services right there in the village using an IDENT chair.

The IDENT chair is a solar powered dental chair that folds up into a backpack and weighs just 15 kilograms. It can be set up in less than a minute and includes a set of instruments for extractions, fillings and check-up’s.

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The chair is designed for people like Harold who don’t just want their clinic to be contained to a room in a hospital, but on the ground in remote villages for people who never have dentistry services available to them.

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Harold was gifted with an IDENT chair by YWAM MSA to help him to continue to live his dream.

“I’m so happy to receive this chair – this will help me do far more.

“I’ve also really enjoyed working with a team – its hard doing it on your own sometimes. I’m really grateful that I now have the support and friendship of YWAM,” said Harold.

Harold and the team treated over 600 patients in 22 villages in Oro and Morobe Province over 20 days.

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