It has been both a celebration of the past 15 years, as well as a solid building block for our future. Bridge2Aid has provided health workers in Tanzania with training to treat dental emergencies since 2004.
As ever, it has been an exciting, busy year for Bridge2Aid. This is down to the hard work and support of our team, trustees, volunteers, supporters, fundraisers, advisors and partners (both in the UK and Tanzania).
We are proud of our Bridge2Aid Community and know that we are only changing lives in Tanzania because we are all in this together, each one of us motivated by a desire to make things better for people living in pain, without basic access to emergency healthcare. It is only with everyone playing their part that we are able to achieve what we have over the past 15 years.
We have met some extraordinary people over the past year. In October and November Bridge2Aid has worked with Dr Nila in the Mara Region of Tanzania. He is a Regional Dental Officer, and the only dentist serving a population of 2.2 million people. With such a strong desire to serve his community he was pleased to be a part of our programmes. The 12 Clinical Officers trained this year will really help him treat those hard to reach people. He has recently received an award from the Tanzanian Dental Association in recognition for his outstanding contribution to oral health. We’re delighted to be working with individuals like Dr Nila.
In September Shaenna, CEO of Bridge2Aid, had the honour of spending a week in Malawi with Dr Wiston Mukiwa. He is the Secretary of the Malawian Dental Association and past permanent Secretary of Health at the Ministry of Health in Malawi. He has been working tirelessly for years to increase access to basic dental treatment for the rural communities in his country and truly believes that the Bridge2Aid model will bring his dream closer to being a reality. He will be working alongside our team on the June pilot in Malawi as a training dentist. Our links with the governments in country is what makes our training model special and sustainable.
We’ve been in discussion with Professor Jeremy Bagg at Glasgow Dental School over the past 12 month following his visit to our programmes in 2018. He is heading up the Maldent project in Malawi and this year opened the first, and only, dental school there. He has a unique ability to bring like-minded people together and has a real passion for oral health in Malawi. We are looking forward to working with him over the next few years.
We met Hamis on one of our programmes this year. He is a retired teacher and he had been diagnosed with diabetes in 2008. For the past 11 years he has experienced pain and problems eating and sleeping but couldn’t afford the bus fare to go to the Regional Hospital. He told us how grateful he was that his local Clinical Officer is now trained to treat his ongoing dental problems. Hamis’ story is a story that we come across on every programme and after 15 years the work we do continues to help the communities we’ve visited.
We are now looking forward to 2020, when we will be training 49 more Clinical Officers in Tanzania and 6 Medical Officers in Malawi. We hope that all of our volunteers who are joining our programmes to carry out the training are looking forward to their trips.
If you are interested in having a meaningful relationship and supporting the work we do, please contact us at [email protected]
Please find a snap shot of our 2019 highlights below:
7 Dental Training Programmes delivered
42 Clinical Officers were trained with 100% success rate, making our total number of Clinical Officers trained to date, 592. Each Clinical Officer in Tanzania serves a community of around 10,000 people, meaning nearly 6 million people now have access to emergency dental care.
Bridge2Aid celebrates its 15 year Anniversary
We celebrated our 15th Anniversary! A local supporter offered us a marvellous venue (Swinhay House) so we held a tea party for Bridge2Aid supporters, friends, volunteers & staff. We also celebrated the occasion at BDIA Dental Showcase with our famous Bridge2Aid Bash, which also provided much needed income to fund future work.
New Implementation Partner, EH4ALL
We started 2019 with a new partner on the ground in Tanzania to help deliver our programmes. We’ve spent the past 2 years ensuring that we are working even more closely with local organisations and it’s been a very positive first year working with them.
In 2019 we treated 3,595 patients for free
For each training programme we deliver, we treat local communities for free. Most people can’t afford the cost of travel and treatment so we often meet people who have been in pain for many years. This year our teams helped 3,595 patients. Since we have started we’ve treated 58,000 patients!
100th Dental Training Programme
This year Bridge2Aid delivered its 100th dental training programme. We are delighted that so many have received treatment and now have access to a trained health worker in their community. There is so much more to do, but this is an important milestone for the charity!
First Stand-Alone Oral Health Programme
An important focus of our training is teaching how to deliver preventative messages to communities. In April this year we trialled a training programme that focussed solely on teaching Oral Health Education. We are currently assessing the impact of this training and look forward to sharing more information about this in the New Year.
First Australian Programme
Bridge2Aid Australia was founded to support the programmes in Tanzania through raising funds and attracting new volunteers. This year we had our first all Australian volunteer programme which will help to promote Bridge2Aid Australia and grow the community of supporters.