Be among those who will volunteer in Haiti

Volunteer in Haiti Overview

Haiti suffered inconceivable destruction from the January 12, 2010 earthquake throughout the city of Port Au Prince and outskirts. The destruction of the center of Port Au Prince, the capital city and largest city in Haiti, drove people outward and pushed the middle and upper classes deeper into the mountains.

At least three million people were affected by the earthquake and six months after the quake over three quarters of a million people was living in unsafe housing or temporary shelter. There is semi–‐permanent housing under construction in several outskirts of Haiti, however there are thousands still living in tent cities off some of the main roads. Haiti is one of the most densely populated and the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Access to quality health and oral health care is limited. Haiti has a total of 338 dentists in a population of approximately 10 million. In 2013, For World Wide Smiles (World Wide Smiles Inc.) traveled to Port Au Prince for the first time with a group of 9 to a catholic parish that governs a school and a number of orphans.

Our remarkable team included 2 dentists, 2 dental students and a college grad that planned to enter dental school in the fall. Three of our volunteers were very supportive with their skills & knowledge in equipment repair as well as teaching essential dental hygiene. At the outreach site, our team (Angels & Heroes) treated 104 patients with over 500 (fillings, sealants, extractions & cleaning) procedures. Besides dental treatment our team distributed T–‐shirts donated by My Happy Shirts, a supply of toothbrushes (life–‐saving tool), generous smiles and lots of love and hope.

In 2014, For World Wide Smiles (World Wide Smiles Inc.) returned to Haiti with a group of 10 to Port–‐Salut & Port–a–Piment. At our outreach sites For World Wide Smiles (World Wide Smiles Inc.) Angels & Heroes performed 522 procedures on 273 patients during the 2 week mission. Given the staggering need for care, moments of disillusionment was felt at the infinitesimal impact that we made on the millions who have no access to any dental healthcare. The inevitable breakdown of any method we have tried over the years to match the number of waiting patients to the number we can actually see inevitably leads to waiting patients who cannot be treated. Unfortunately, on our last day of the mission we had to painfully turn away a full bench of people that we were forced to abandon due to our allocated time as well as running out of necessary supplies and could not continue our work under any circumstances.

Our Dental Aid missions establishes relationships & partnerships that build strong ties, trust & mutual respect to the underserved people in Haiti. We look forward in returning to Haiti to provide dental healthcare, disease prevention education & needed supplies.

A little bit more about trip basics

Trip Basics

The Experience & Other Basics that May Be Required

The work is hard but rewarding. After a long hard day in the field, you’ll experience fun & friendship from the natives and for those in Uganda on safari drives. While the primary purpose is to help those in need, there is plenty of cross cultural interaction, learning and free-time. In general, work is 8-5 M-F while evenings and weekends might offer free time and some fun.. First Sundays are set aside for orientation and set up.

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Teams & Clinical Services
Our group divides into 3 to 4 teams consisting of dentists, assistants, hygienists and other helpers. Each team is typically around 13 persons and assigned to different locations. The typical clinic will feature 5 chairs with 3 dentists and 2 hygienists. We set up portable dental equipment in temporary clinic locations ranging from country schools to rural health clinics. We also might set up a clinic at the host hotel to treat there staff. thats if we have enough people and volunteers to do this.

Children and adults come to us for basic dental services including cleanings, fillings, sealants and extractions. While we want to save every tooth possible, the reality is that the greatest need is often an extraction. All types of dentists are welcome. The typical general dentist will perform about 70% extractions and 30% restoratives. We do our best to match up dentists with teams that compliment their skills.

Education Team
Our fifth team visits schools in the area promoting oral hygiene. Toothbrushes, paste, and floss are also distributed. The education component is considered critical to our long term goals of sustaining and promoting healthier teeth and gums.
Work Conditions
Dental work in rural areas is challenging. Our volunteers often tell us “I never work this hard at home!” You will be working in the humid, tropical heat, often in rudimentary buildings, sometimes with the electricity or water gone. we also use portable compressors and generators which might be noisy. Sometimes the equipment does’t behave. However, these challenges are all part of the adventure of humanitarian projects. We support the teams as best as possible to keep things flowing and going and to make your work environment as safe and comfortable as possible.
Equipment
The project provides patient chairs, sometimes stools, sterilization and delivery systems. Through the generous donations of various volunteers, we have newer portable ASEPTICO delivery units. These units feature standard 4/5 hole tubing for slow and high speed hand pieces, air/water, and suction. The suction evacuates to a saliva bottle on the unit that must be emptied into a toilet or pit after every patient. We also provide steam autoclaves at each clinic, along with amalgamators and cure lights. We are working to have digital x-rays at every clinic but this is not yet standardized. We have some Cavitrons and tips but we recommend that hygienists bring their own if possible. All dentists, hygienists and assistants must bring a headlight and we highly recommend that all other volunteers do so also. High lumen, focused beam headlamps can be purchased at REI or similar for around $60 USD. Try Black Diamond brand.
Hand Instruments and Supplies
Dentists and Hygienists are responsible to bring their needed hand instruments and supplies, including hand pieces and headlamps. Be sure you bring the couple/swivel that some hand pieces require to plug directly into the 4/5 hole tubing.

Volunteers must also ship enough disposable supplies to treat 75 patients per week. We provide checklists for supplies and hand instruments. Most volunteers ask their suppliers for donated materials and pharmaceuticals. for Uganda and Haiti, volunteers will use the 2nd extra fee bag to transport the supplies and hand instruments.( for more information please call or email us to explain more) . You will be given more instructions on this process.

Hand instruments and any other items you intend to bring back to the USA must be carried with you in your check-in luggage. Each volunteer must provide lists of supplies, medications, and hand tools so we can obtain appropriate approval in advance from the government for importation and tax waivers. More information about supplies and instruments will be given to volunteers after registration.

Lack of instruments and supplies should never be a reason to NOT volunteer with FWWS If you will have trouble with supplies or instruments please contact us. We will work with you to try to get what you will need to volunteer.

Locations, Schedule and Accommodations

The clinics are scattered throughout the Parishes. They are located in health clinics, churches, schools and other facilities. All clinics are less than an hour’s drive from the hotels. Each morning, volunteers leave the hotel at 8am by van, start work by 9am and return by 5pm. Evenings and SOME TIMES weekends are free TO DO SAFARI DRIVE FOR UGANDA except for first Sunday with is dedicated to orientation and setup. Although your project will not change, your specific hotel/location can change at any time.

3 People to a Room with Couples exception…

Each volunteer will share a room with two other people. Couples may also elect to room separately. Please note that sometimes the rooms are small & often at least one person is assigned a roll away bed. Volunteers will be matched with roommates by request or in the most compatible way, whenever possible. We recommend organizing your group into 3’s so you can be roommates with those you know.

Airfare and Travel Dates

Volunteers make their own travel arrangements unless need help from us we will be happy to help guide you on what to do. FOR MORE INFORMATION CHECK THE TRAVEL READYNESS FORM. UNDER UGANDA.

Travel Documents
All VOLUNTEERS are required to carry a current (not expired) passport to enter travel. Americans, Canadians and citizens from several other countries are NOT required to have a VISA to enter Haiti but must have visas for Uganda which you can get at the airport as you enter. trying to obtain a visa before going sometimes is a lot of work cause they ask for a lot of paper work which you wont need if you just get on on entry AT THE AIRPORT IN UGANDA.. its easy and costs the same as obtaining it online .. If you are not a US or Canadian citizen, please contact us to make sure you have the correct documentation for entry and return. You should always carry a photo copy of your travel documents separate from the originals in case the originals are lost or stolen. This will expedite permission to re-enter your country.
Water, Food, & Health Concerns
We highly recommend you consult your doctor before traveling to any foreign country for current health considerations. You may also wish to visit the US Embassy website or CDC website for latest health updates on a country you will be traveling to. In 2014, the Chikungunya Virus spread across the Caribbean, including Haiti. Chikungunya is a virus that causes joint pain, fever, headache and sometimes rash. It appears the outbreak has run its course and is no longer considered a high risk in Haiti, but all volunteers will be advised to follow normal precautions of wearing mosquito repellent and long clothes where mosquito are present.

Water in most communities is not fully trusted. we will stick to bottled water which we should carry with us and we will try to buy and stock as much as we can get.The food is plentiful, delicious, fresh, varied and safe to eat. There are doctors and hospitals in Uganda and other countries we go to. but emergency services can be difficult to obtain in a timely fashion. As is typical in a developing nation, the quality or availability of health care services may be well below what we are used to in America.

Emergency evacuation to the USA for emergency medical attention may be required, depending on the severity and urgency of the situation. We strongly advise each volunteer secure their own emergency medical travel insurance and contact your health insurance company about what to do and what is covered in the event of a medical emergency. We also recommend you discuss an emergency plan with your doctor and that keep phone numbers of primary care providers with you at all times.

HIV
In Africa and other places the risk of infection by an accidental poke with a needle or other sharp instrument remains. We place a high emphasis on safety with our volunteers to take the greatest of care in the clinics to prevent any kind of accident. Testing (patients and volunteers) for HIV is possible in field but sometimes it is not available in a timely fashion and sometimes the patient refuses to test. In the unlikely event you are poked with a dirty needle or instrument, you will have to decide if you want to take HIV medications (prophylaxis). WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you review this possibility with your doctor prior to participation and have a post exposure plan in place for yourself.

If you have more questions, please email us info@forworldwidesmiles.org