Forensic Odontologist To Swap Plymouth for Timor-Leste for Charity Mission

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A forensic odontologist is preparing to leave Plymouth for Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor, to help with a charity project.

Simon Crewe will be taking part in an initiative in the eastern part of the island of Timor, which is organised by the dental charity, Dentaid. He will part of a team of volunteers from the UK, which is aiming to help to train dental therapists working in Timor and the neighbouring islands of Jaco, Atauro and Oecusse.

The team will spend two works completing vocational training to enable dental therapists to develop their skills. Once they have received training, the therapists will be able to provide more people with routine dental care and improve oral health education to hopefully reduce rates of decay and gum disease among the population.

Simon said that he has preparing for the trip and planning the programme for a while now and he is looking forward to setting foot on the plane and then landing in Timor-Leste. Simon added that he is expecting it to be very different to other places he has visited, especially as was has been raging between the nation and Indonesia for a very long period of time.

The team has been working with Dr Fernando Jong in the run-up to the visit to identify areas of need and come up with solutions to help boost standards of oral health and enable people enjoy better access to dental care.

East Timor is one of the world’s poorest countries and the network of dentists in place is extremely ragged. The World Health Organisation has provided funding for dental therapists and the first class is due to graduate this year. Dentaid has stepped up to the plate to provide equipment for the therapists to use and a grant from Rotary International has enabled Dentaid to create boxes, which fold out to reveal a complete portable surgery. The boxes were designed by specially trained engineers at Dentaid.

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