09 November 2017
Since 2009 dental students from Witten/Herdecke university have been involved in a project for dental health in children in Myanmar. At DMG we support this aid project as one of the main sponsors. Recently the ninth team of students returned from Myanmar after having spent several weeks there, where they provided dental assistance directly on site in cooperation with the local dentists. Lotta Westphal, one of the participants from Witten/Herdecke university, gave a summary of her experience:
“After several months of intensive preparation, we began our journey into the unknown in late August. In Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, we were received by Dr. Khin Maung, our main contact on site, with open arms. Together we went to the new capital, Naypyidaw, roughly six hours away, where we spend the first days. We visited the local hospitals and saw the operating rooms, which were already very modern. In surrounding schools, we helped children to brush their teeth and gave them treatment together with dentists from Myanmar. Afterward we went to Shan State, where we treated children and adults and performed prophylaxis measures together with a university from Myanmar.
The next week was devoted to “Charity Treatment,” an initiative of the Ministry of Health. At Inle Lake we spent five days living in Buddhist monasteries. In addition to our day-to-day dental work relating to the initiative, the thing we learned most of all was the exceedingly friendly mentality of the Burmese: This included the provision of Burmese dishes and generally very kind “all-round care.”
From Inle Lake, we made our way to Bagan by coach. With its hundreds of stone pagodas, the landscape there had a very special flair that made a lasting impression on us. In Bagan we concentrated on prophylaxis in schools and nurseries. This was particularly enjoyable as the children always greeted us for tooth brushing with lots of enthusiasm and excitement.
Looking back, one of the things that sticks in our minds is the differences between rural and urban treatment provision. While towns often have access to good infrastructure, a clear sense of remoteness can be felt in the country. The people there provide all their treatment themselves.
As this year’s generation of project participants, we felt that our trip of Myanmar was highly enriching, because we were not only able to help but we also had the chance to get to know a new culture and experience many new things. This truly made a lasting impression on us.”
At DMG, we are delighted to have played a role in the success of this project.