Providing life-changing dental care for remote Moroccan communities
Since 2014, the Eve Branson Foundation has teamed up with the Dental Mavericks charity to set up a temporary walk-in dental clinic each year for children and teenagers in Asni, a small market town in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains.
Dental Mavericks was created by volunteers – ordinary people from around the world dedicating their time, expertise and resources to help others in need. With their help, EBF has reached hundreds of vulnerable people to deliver dental care services.
The temporary clinic is open to children under the age of 16 in local villages for five days. It’s run by a team of international dentists and dental nurses, volunteering their time for free and raising funds to cover the costs of their trip.
“I wanted to volunteer on this programme because I believe in the power of giving back and making a difference in the lives of others,” Inna Ceketa, a dental nurse who took part in the programme said. “Participation in the Dental Mavericks and Eve Branson Foundation clinic allowed me to broaden my perspective, gain new experiences and contribute to a cause that I care about. It's a fulfilling way for me to positively impact individuals in need.”
The local children and adolescents receive a free screening, plus any treatments – including fluoride, pain-free extractions and general dental care. The 2023 clinic was the first to run since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and many children had not had a dental check-up for more than three years.
Manni Sogi, a dental nurse from the UK, who travelled to Morocco to work in the clinic, said: “I couldn’t believe the condition of some of the broken teeth – sometimes we saw a mouth nearly full of just roots. In the UK, a dentist is someone you see every six months, it’s just part of life. But that’s not the case in these remote communities.”
150 families signed up for the first day of the clinic, and many children in the local area were given the day off school so that they could be seen by one of the dentists. In total, the clinic saw and treated nearly 500 patients under the age of 16 – including extracting 300 teeth.
Zuzana Petrosova, a dentist who helped run the clinic, added: “No matter how many people we saw, no matter how many hours we worked, there were still loads more waiting for treatment.”
The dentists and dental nurses were supported by a team of four interpreters to help them overcome the language barriers. “They were not only translating, but helping to put the patients at ease, which is an invaluable help for us dentists,” Zuzana said. “I can’t imagine the success without their presence.”
Together the dental nurses, and their translators, not only supported the dental work in the clinic, but also gave advice on the importance of oral hygiene, helped to distribute dental care kits and show good toothbrushing techniques.