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Rotarians treat Honduras children in improvised dental clinics

Madison Rotarian Dr. Amy Thompson of Thompson Dentistry, at right, assists Dr. Natalia Bustillo of San Francisco, Honduras in a temporary dental clinic coordinated by Rotarians from Madison and Calhoun City, Miss. (CONTRIBUTED)
Madison Rotarian Dr. Amy Thompson of Thompson Dentistry, at right, assists Dr. Natalia Bustillo of San Francisco, Honduras in a temporary dental clinic coordinated by Rotarians from Madison and Calhoun City, Miss. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Rotary Club members from Madison and Calhoun City, Miss. successfully strategized dental treatment for children in remote villages of Honduras.

In 2014, Rotary Club of Madison members improvised a dental clinic on the outskirts of Choluteca, Honduras. “This year, Madison Rotarian Dr. Amy Thompson of Thompson Dentistry in Monrovia and Dr. Jim Dobbs, Amy’s father, dentist and member of Rotary Club of Calhoun City, Miss., moved clinics out to rural areas,” Madison Rotarian Dennis Sanders said.

Thompson and Dobbs’ assistants Maria Dyar, Brittany Bradford Jevon O’Neal with Thompson Dentistry and Calhoun City Rotarians Fred Nabors and Allen Dearing achieved “an unqualified success in San Francisco, Barranquilla and Jayacayan schools with minimal electrical service,” Sanders said.

From Feb. 22 to March 1, the team treated 422 children, placed 1870 dental sealants, completed 95 fillings and performed 22 extractions, Dobbs said.

The dental team used one portable unit that Thompson’s grandfather built in the 1980s and one from ADEC, a leader in dental equipment. ADEC partnered with Rotarians in Austria to build units at cost for mission trips.

The units run on compressed air, so electricity is required but occasionally wasn’t strong or consistent enough.

“Dr. Jim found portable equipment with little or no power requirements. The key items were a compact, portable and well equipped dental unit and a examination chair made of cardboard — yes, cardboard,” Sanders said.

The dental team applied sealants to prevent cavities for six- to 14-year-olds with developing molars. All patients received cleaning and other services, especially extractions.

Most children had never been treated by a dentist, but a local doctor with limited resources who works for the government had treated some children. “She can only do extractions,” Thompson said.

“The program is squarely aligned with Rotary International’s vision that encourages cooperation among countries in sustainable and affordable projects for the host country.”

Some of the young Honduran patients were scared but most weren’t. “They were children … no different than the United States,” Thompson said.

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