Dr Franck Page recently returned from another dental mission in Fiji. Over several years, Dr Page and a group of other medical professionals have established the annual trip to the islands to volunteer and help the people living there with their oral health needs.
This time, the group went to the island of Tavarua. The island is one of the around 110 permanently inhabited islands of Fiji. It is 29 acres big and close to the main Fijian island Viti Levu.
Dr Franck Page went to Fiji with the support of his wife Katerina who has a pharmacist degree and helped dispense medications and anaesthetic to the patients. As in the last ten years, the Lyndon family was part of the team as well. Clayton Lyndon is a pharmacist and provided reading and sun glasses for the villagers. Clayton also helps to triage the patients for their dental treatment.
Clinic Day at the village of Nabila
For 9 days, Dr Franck Page treated patients and island staff on Tavarua. In addition, the team also had a clinic day on Viti Levu in the village of Nabila. On that day, they treated 67 patients whereof 23 were children. Currently, the clinic treatments are limited to dental extractions.
Sadly, the villages have very little access to preventative and restorative dentistry. Every year, the team brings toothbrushes and toothpaste that they donate to every patient. They also distribute them in the village. Usually, our practice supplies around 30kg of toothpaste and around 500 toothbrushes. Dr Franck Page said, “I hope that in future we will be able to run a more comprehensive clinic. This will help all villagers to improve their oral health right from the start”.
Dr Franck Page always enjoys the day in the village the best. “The whole village comes together and there is much laughter and banter as patients wait for their dental appointment. At any one time we have friends and family of patients looking through the windows of the infirmary passing comment on the proceedings. The villagers are extremely generous and although they are materially poor, they will always offer us gifts to thank us,” said Dr Franck.
Highlights of the trip
The highlight for the villagers were not only the sun and reading glasses or toothbrushes and toothpaste the team handed out but kindly donated soccer jerseys by Magic United Football Club. Many of the village children received a new sports outfit and showed pure joy in wearing it! The soccer gear was complemented by football boots and equipment. These were kindly donated by Paul Green from Vincents Accountants for the village rugby junior/senior teams.
For next year, Dr Franck Page hopes that a few dentists from Coastal Dental Care and other practices on the Gold Coast can volunteer some time so that the team would be able to offer more clinic days in different villages. For 2019, he aims to go to the village of Yako and Mome.
On behalf of all the team, we would like to thank Pac Pines Terry White for providing medication and logistical support, Magic United Football Club for donating soccer jerseys and Paul Green from Vincents Accountants for the football boots and equipment.
We are already looking forward to the 2019 Fiji dental mission and hope to be able to help even more people this year!