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Improving the Balinese Smile

Mobile Dental Clinic Makes Dental Care Available for the First Time to Children Living in the Remote Hills of East Bali.

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On October 6, 2006, the award-winning East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) has embarked on a program of providing comprehensive free dental health care for the children of Ban village, Kubu Sub District, Karangasem Regency - one of the most isolated and under-served areas of Bali, with the introduction of a fully-equipped Mobile Denal Clinic.

The mobile clinic, owned by the Bali International Women's Association (BIWA) and Bali Hati Foundation, will visit Ban village every Friday and Saturday, staffed by a team of 10-15 dentists and dental students from the Dental Faculty of Mahasaraswati University, led by Drg Panji Triadnya. The operational costs of the visits are covered by EBPP, under an initial three-year joint operation agreement signed by the four parties on September 29, 2006.

The Clinic was officially inaugurated by Dr Ida Ayu Suci Astiti, Head of Karangasem Regency Health Department, representing the Karangasem Regent, Wayan Gredeg. The ceremony, held outside the primary school in Ban village, was attended by 200 school children, EBPP Chairman David Booth, Dental Faculty Dean Drg PA Mahendri, Bali Hati Director Yacintha E Desembriartista, BIWA President, Ms Mayke Boestami, Head of Ban village Ketut Karta and Head of Kubu Sub District Bapak Wayan Sutapa.

"The Mobile Dental Clinic program initiated by Yayasan Ekoturin's East Bali Poverty Project is very helpful for the people who don't have any access to dentists. The Karangasem Regency government thanks Yayasan Ekoturin for helping to improve the health quality of its people, especially children, with dental healthcare and hopes that Yayasan Ekoturin and Karangasem government can (continue to) improve their cooperation in helping more communities in the near future," said Dr. Suci Astiti.

On the first day, 194 children were treated, each receiving an average of one filling and one extraction. Earlier dental surveys showed that the 3,250 children in Ban village, between the ages of 1-12 years, need an average of 3 fillings and one extraction, with another 2,000 in need of treatment for severe gingivitis. As a result, the weekly visits by the mobile dental clinic are essential for each of the 13 schools and 27 community health posts in the village that will be served by this new project.

"When the clinic is not in Ban, it will be used by the other 3 organisations to provide dental health care supplied by the Mahasaraswati Dental faculty and also serve as a clinic for reproductive women's health care in other under-served areas of Bali," explained Dr. Mahendri.

Ekoturin Foundation's East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP), was established in July 1998 to improve the living standards of an isolated mountain area of Bali that is home to over two thousand families. Striving to achieve sensible, ecologically sustainable development, the EBPP avoids hand-outs of money, rice or any other short-term solutions; seeking projects that empower the local community and are in keeping with EBPP's 5 hamlet communities self-declared needs and aspirations.

Key initial funding for the operational costs of the mobile dental clinic program in 2006-2007, including transporting the dental team from Mahasaraswati University in Denpasar to East Bali, the running costs of the mobile dental clinic and the materials for all tooth extractions and fillings have been generously provided by [The Calvin Ayre Foundation].

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