Norwich dentist returns from ‘humbling’ experience helping refugees in Lebanon

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A dentist from Norwich has returned from a ‘humbling’ experience providing dental care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Dr Gautam Sharma visited a camp in Lebanon as part of a charity project run by Dental Mavericks. The aim was to provide those who have fled Syria with basic dental care and pain relief. Dr Sharma joined teams of dental and medical volunteers to see patients living in the camps, offering them advice, as well as treatment and medication to prevent and alleviate pain. The project is part of Dental Mavericks’ Global Outreach Programme.

Dr Sharma said that the experience had been rewarding, but also very difficult. We watch clips on the news and see photographs in the paper, but the Norwich dentist said that nothing could have prepared him for the sights and stories he saw and heard during his short time in Lebanon. The team provided appointments for several patients, and follow-up sessions have been arranged for six months’ time.

Dr Sharma, who is based at West Earlham Dental Practice, described the experience as ‘humbling’ and said that it was very difficult to see people who had been through such traumatic times. Although the work was tough, both physically and emotionally, Dr Sharma said that it was incredible to know that his skills and his time were making a positive difference. Dr Sharma left the UK with a huge supply of toy and gifts, which had been donated by generous patients, colleagues and locals and he thoroughly enjoyed touring schools and orphanages, handing out the donations to children who have virtually nothing.

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