Nottingham Dental Therapist embarks on a 10,500 mile round trip to help others.
Monica Zendera, who lives in Hucknall, was born and brought up in Zimbabwe and has since returned to complete a dental mission.
The 28-year old moved to Nottinghamshire in 2003 and joined their salaried dental service, she has now returned to her home town to teach hundreds of people who have no access to dental care how to look after their teeth.
The team of four, including Monica, worked in schools, hospitals, orphanages, remote villages and even a storeroom during their 14 day trip in April.
She said: “Due to the financial difficulties in Zimbabwe, there are people who have no access to healthcare as the cant afford to pay the fees and in the most remote areas services are not event available.”
“The majority of the people had never seen a dentist and were living in pain.”
The team also ran a clinic at a health centre near the town of Chinhoyi, where they had to work in a store room and sterilize equipment in pressure cookers.
Around 200 people gathered at the centre to ask for free dental treatment and around 170 badly decayed teeth were removed. Dozens of children were also given toothbrushes and shown how to brush their teeth. Monica said:
“the chair, drills and light had ceased to work so we shone torches into their mouths. It was a long day but very rewarding helping to get as many people as possible out of pain.”
“The majority of the patients we saw had travelled long distances on foot with no food or drink and were generally weak and faint due to hunger. We had to keep a close eye on them and bring up their blood sugar levels before any treatment.”
The group, who each had to raise £2,100 for their trip, went over to Zimbabwe with the international dental charity Dentaid. A spokeswoman said:
“They worked extremely hard, the team work was just brilliant. The patients were extremely grateful and very happy. I’m sure it was an absolutely rewarding and eye-opening experience for the team.”