Team from Thame prepare for life-saving mission to Malawi

Samantha Miller and Zak Khatana
Samantha Miller and Zak Khatana

A dental team from Thame are preparing to carry out life-saving work in Africa.

Zak Khatana and Samantha Miller, from the Thame House Dental Practice in High Street, are appealing for help as they plan to provide treatment to people in Malawi where there is a desperate need for care.

Zak, who works as a dentist in the town and Fairford Leys, said: “There is a desperate need for dental care in Malawi. The country has fewer than 40 registered dentists for a population of 19 million people and access to dental services is particularly difficult for people living in remote rural communities, with people dying from preventable dental infections causing sepsis.”

Zak and dental nurse Sam saw an online article about the work DentAid do globally for the poorest communities and how they are struggling due to a lack of volunteer support.

The trip is being arranged for next April and they will be based in the village of Bulala, a very small poor area of the country.

Zak added: “We will be providing care to the residents there as well as the surrounding villages. A previous mission found that people walked through the night for many hours just to queue up and the team often woke up in the morning to queues over 100 people long.

“We are aiming to see at least 1,000 people for emergency care during our trip. Emergency treatment will include extractions, emergency pain relief and management of swellings and abcesses.

“We will be part of a small team of volunteers who will set up and install a temporary dental clinic. Many of the patients will require emergency care and extractions but we will also run oral health programmes. We will prioritise children and those suffering from infections and immediate pain.

“Dental supplies are expensive and so we are fundraising to help us provide as much care as possible to those in need.”

All donations will be used entirely for this project, however big or small the amount, and they are looking to raise at least £4,500.

Contact Zak at zakikhatana@gmail.com and visit https://www.dentaid.org