Dental team gulu
Dental Team Gulu 2019 is raising £14,000.00 to deliver dental education and healthcare services to people in rural areas of Uganda in order to minimise dental casualty in deprived rural areas.
Who are we?
We are Dental Team Gulu 2019, a group of highly motivated dentistry students from The University of Manchester. We form the UK team of the Northern Uganda Village Health Outreach Project (NUV-HOP). NUV-HOP is a student-led health project that delivers free dental and medical healthcare, as well as educational services to impoverished rural communities in Northern Uganda. It is run by dental students from Manchester and Uganda who work alongside Team Gulu (the medical branch of this project comprising of medical students from Manchester, Gulu and Belgium). We all work with dental and medical staff and partner organisations in Gulu. This year’s dental team consists of: Sophia Signorini, Nia Harris, Sara Member, Melika Hedayat, Uthman Hamid, Ali Al-Naher and Jay Ferns - a mixture of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year dental students and 3rd year oral health science students at The University of Manchester.
We are not part of a commercial enterprise, nor are we volunteers for an organisation. NUV-HOP is a student-led, student financed and participatory project which empowers students to organise, collaborate and critically assess what they are doing, how it impacts the communities in which they work and what they can do to help. We work with local Ugandan healthcare staff, the Gulu Dental and Medical Schools, Manchester Global Health Society, Belgian medical student organisations, local partner organisations, charities and our respective universities. Our aim is to deliver a safe, structured and engaging project with the maximum amount of time spent doing what we're there to do! Each student on the project has a say in how it’s run and what could be improved, whilst Team Leads from all three countries meet regularly to discuss the direction of the project.
During the 1990s and the 2000s, Joseph Kony's 'Lord's Resistance Army' (LRA) fought a guerrilla war in Northern Uganda against government forces. They killed, abducted and raped men, women and children and were infamous for their brutality and use of child soldiers. Joseph Kony went into hiding in Sudan in 2005 and attempts to find and arrest him have been unsuccessful.
After years of civil war, Northern Ugandans returned home and started to rebuild their lives and communities. Gulu is a thriving town in the centre of Uganda but the effects of the conflict are still felt by many there. Rural communities in the district struggle against high levels of poverty, inadequate water sanitation and significant burden from diseases such as Malaria, HIV/AIDs and disabilities caused by the years of war. The Ugandan dental and medical service provides free healthcare to the population, but is often overstretched and under resourced with many people struggling to access more than very basic services. Despite the efforts of committed healthcare professionals, many people are still unable to access adequate healthcare due to the cost of travel and the lack of resources in health centres. There has been further pressure on the system in recent years as the country has welcomed refugees fleeing conflict in South Sudan.
What do we do?
This is the second year that Dental Team Gulu has participated in NUV-HOP alongside Manchester’s Medical Team Gulu. The project was first started by our Ugandan counterparts, with Belgian medical students participating in the first years and Manchester medical students joining for the first time in 2016.
After our dental trial-run in 2018 (which included only three dental students), we are proud to announce that a group of seven dental students will be involved this year, expanding the Team Gulu project by performing oral hygiene research and delivering dental healthcare education.
This summer, Manchester dental students will be travelling to Uganda to spend three weeks observing and assisting local dental staff and students as they deliver free dental healthcare services to the local community. We will be participating in a number of 'outreach days', which will involve travelling to rural health centres with dentists, dental officers, doctors, medical students and partner organisations to facilitate dental and medical healthcare clinics. Hundreds of people attend these clinics and have the opportunity to speak to dental and medical professionals, to access dental heath talks and advice as well as basic medical tests and vaccinations, medication and family planning services. These outreaches are funded entirely by generous donations from supporters like you, which is why we need your help today!
In addition to outreach days in clinics and schools in nearby villages, planning is also underway for a dental screening tent to guide patients to the help that they require and to provide minimally invasive preventative treatments.
Why do we do it?
In addition to facilitating free healthcare services, NUV-HOP also allows incredible learning opportunities. On top of the outreach days, students shadow, assist and observe staff in Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, gaining valuable clinical experience. Students develop an understanding of Northern Uganda’s healthcare system, the different disease sets, and the challenges staff face working in difficult clinical environments. Taking part in a student-led project empowers the team to make decisions and organise a project from the bottom up.
During our time in Uganda we are hosted by local families, allowing us to develop relationships with the local people and a more intimate understanding of their culture and lives. NUV-HOP is a collaboration between Ugandan, Belgian and Manchester students and encourages international team work and cooperation towards a unified goal.
The response we received when the dental project began last year was unforgettable. We were welcomed with open arms and our oral health education programme was a resounding success. This year we would love to see even greater results from this crucial project, with dental healthcare and education being offered to even more people in this amazing community.
Your generosity will allow this to happen. Your donation, whatever it's size, will allow this year's team to discuss oral health with thousands of individuals. It will fund the collection of data to help us understand more about current dental trends in Gulu, allowing us to tailor the educational plans for this community. Thanks to you we will be able to offer fluoride varnish treatments, a preventative measure which enables tooth remineralisation, which reducing the incidence of dental trauma for individuals.
How much money do we need and what is it for?
In total, we need to raise £14,000. This will fund seven students from The University of Manchester to travel to, and stay with, host-families in Gulu, as well as the in-country running costs of outreach clinics.
This sounds like a huge amount of money, but as well as our flights, internal travel, visas and accommodation it will also cover the supplies, logistics and personnel needed to deliver the clinics with local partners. Even the basics such as tents, tables, chairs, medications and transportation are required to support this basic level of medical outreach to remote rural areas.
Each student taking part needs £2,000.00 which covers:
Our minimum target is £7,000.00. This would allow the project to go ahead and dental outreaches to function.
This will include:
Contribution to the cost of outreaches (£1000- per team member) – this includes transportation costs, hire costs (for tents, chairs, tables, etc.), medical costs (such as medications, tests, dental equipment, etc.) and costs of hospital staff attending the outreaches.
Our full target of £14,000.00 includes the full cost of our flights to and from Uganda. Fundraising for these costs is crucial to enabling this amazing learning opportunity to be open to any University of Manchester dental student, regardless of their socio-economic background. We believe that this project should be accessible to all, not just those who can afford to pay for expensive flights.
This will include: (costs per team member)
Flights, visas, transport and accommodation with host-families (£850) – this includes flights to and from Uganda, costs of living (we stay with local host-families so this goes directly to them) and our first and last nights in Uganda when we stay in hostels.
Insurance, medical indemnity insurance and team equipment such as first aid kits (£100).
Contribution to unforeseen costs (£50) - as with any project, there are always unforeseen costs which we plan for with this small contingency fund (unforeseen costs might include team trips to see a doctor, emergency accommodation, unforeseen transport costs, etc.).
Any money raised over and above our full target will either be used for extra equipment or staff in-country this year, or will be put towards Dental Team Gulu 2020 (which many of our current team will hopefully be returning for).
We will be providing all of our supporters with updates from the project whilst preparing for the trip, whilst in country and upon return when we publish our annual report. Updates will be available on our Facebook page on a weekly basis, letting you know all about any fundraising events that are happening, how much we have to go until we reach our target and all the activities we get up in in Gulu.
Hey, we have some fab rewards to thank everyone who donates, whatever the amount you might give. Check them out on the right hand side of this page!
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Help us succeed
Please give whatever you can to help us achieve our goal. Last year Team Gulu members saw thousands of patients and had an incredible learning experience. Any amount, however small, will help. Please sponsor us and help make this happen.
You can support us even further by sharing our project with your friends! Please share this project with anyone you think would support us – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, by email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog. In fact, share it with everyone you know as we think it's a great idea, and the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out brilliantly.