Hello, everyone! Here is the latest news from the dental project in Afghanistan. Our efforts continue to help the Afghan people recover their missing infrastructure and economy. With a life expectancy of under fifty years for Afghans, and inability of ninety percent of Afghans to access dental care, we are continuing to expand our program to train more young Afghans as dental technicians, provide more free treatment to the poor, bring in new technology to improve the missing technical infrastructure, and train dentists in modern dentistry.
Our Dental Technician School now has a group of young Afghan women learning the skills necessary to assist dentists in their work. This training is provided at no cost to Afghan students. Upon graduation next month, the students will receive certificates as Certified Dental Assistant professionals, and will be able to get jobs working in dental offices, or they will be able to enter our dental laboratory technology training program. We are currently looking for two students to learn about the fabrication of metal and porcelain crowns in our Dental Laboratory Training Program. Students accepted into this program would be trained for four additional months, at which time they would graduate as Certified Laboratory Technicians. In the future, we hope to re-open our Dental Hygienist training program as well. Late last summer, we shipped 50,000 pounds of dental supplies and equipment from Santa Barbara. The shipment was valued at over $2,000,000, and contained about five years of clinical supplies, lots of commercial dental laboratory equipment and supplies, and equipment for our new clinic. The shipment arrived last October 2015, and all of the contents have been unloaded and stored so that they can be accessed..
During the last year, we have been constructing a new, modern clinic from discarded shipping containers. Last October, a volunteer crew installed the electrical and plumbing services and new dental equipment purchased in China. Staff dentists were educated about modern dental techniques, and now the clinic is providing dental services not available in Afghanistan otherwise. Dental professionals are volunteering from around the world to come to help by teaching and by providing treatment. Afghan dentists are coming from outside of our project, interested in the modern services being provided there, and learning the techniques for their own practices. This process is helping Afghans obtain higher-quality dental treatment, while elevating the level of the dental technical infrastructure in Afghanistan. Fees collected from these services are being used to help support the costs of operating the project. Currently, our internal clinical structure is being refined to help Afghans seeking treatment be able to access the best options for their care. Patients coming to the clinic are provided with the list of free, simple treatments that our clinic provides, and are also counseled by a dentist about other options for which the patients are probably not familiar. In this way, the public is being educated about the advantages of modern, comprehensive dentistry, and many are electing to receive restorative treatment rather than have teeth removed.
In July 2016, we will begin fabricating porcelain and all-metal crowns in our own laboratory, training new technicians to provide our clinic with these services. Currently, all crowns are made in Pakistan, to low-quality standards. We want to bring this technology into Afghanistan, so our efforts in July will be to initiate this training program at our facility. Next fall, we hope to begin construction of a modern twelve-station dental laboratory training facility, which will train young Afghans in fabrication techniques for all types of dental laboratory prosthetics, including crowns, bridges, removable full and partial dentures, implant prostheses, and orthodontic appliances. We are currently translating a dental laboratory procedures textbook to be used in this training. The completed manual will show pictures of each step of fabricating dental prostheses, and have descriptions of each picture in both English and Dari, the Afghan language. We currently have a director for this program, who will be starting the development of the program in the Fall of 2016. Students trained in a government-sponsored dental lab technician program that has no practical training available will be able to volunteer at our facility and receive the training in actually fabricating all of these appliances. Graduates from that program will be able to then go forth within Afghanistan and establish private dental laboratories, producing quality dental laboratory products from within Afghanistan, not relying on poor quality products coming from Pakistan. This will be a big step in helping to rebuild the dental technical infrastructure within Afghanistan.
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Average Afghan life expectancy
Dentists in our clinic
Number of dental assistant graduates
Number of people we've helped