The mission of the Eve Branson Foundation (EBF) is to enrich the lives of people in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco – and the team employs a number of special projects and initiatives to do so.
One area that has seen significant progress is dental care, with a focus on educating the local Berber community of Asni about oral hygiene and healthcare. With children and parents unlikely to visit dentists, children are often left in severe pain, ridden with infection and unable to do anything about it.
In a bid to change this, in 2014, the Eve Branson Foundation partnered with the Dental Mavericks charity to provide hundreds of children and adolescents with pain-free treatments at a temporary walk-in clinic in the market town of Asni.
Following on from the success of the first trip, the Dental Mavericks and their pop-up clinic has become an annual event, with a team of dedicated dentists raising funds to cover the costs of their trip – every time closing their clinics back home to volunteer their time. Thanks to work of these brilliant volunteers, and the implementation of a year-round tooth-brushing programme, the EBF has helped treat over 1000 patients, and significantly reduced the number of extractions.
This year the EBF also partnered with Unilever Maghrebit who generously donated 1,000s of Signal oral hygiene toothbrushing kits. This partnership included targeted efforts to engage young people in the programme, with every child treated by the team receiving a Dental Mavericks stickered goodie bag with a Signal toothbrushing kit, colouring pencil and medal.
The Dental Mavericks have also developed a special pain-free methodology to quickly bond, connect and gain trust with children before they even see the dentist, to ensure the experience is fun and positive.
Cally Gedge Dental Mavericks co-founder trustee and operations director said, “Treating such a large number of under 5s is ground-breaking because we really can get right in there from an early age and educate them how to keep their teeth for life.”
This year for the first time, the temporary clinic included an X-ray room with a portable X-ray machine assisting the team to better understand the extent of tooth decay and issues for more difficult extractions.
The level of care and respect for the Berber community and their traditions and values is always top priority before every visit. This year the team took this effort one step further, introducing of a ‘women’s area’, where women and children could be treated in private and away from the wider community and discuss any concerns they may have.
It’s a model unquestionably working and growing its offering year on year – but more importantly, it is building trust within a community previously disengaged with issues around healthcare.
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