Volunteer in Haiti Overview
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.
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.
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.
Teams & Clinical Services
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.
Hand Instruments and Supplies
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.
Water, Food, & Health Concerns
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.
If you have more questions, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org