NSK is delighted to have been able to donate an autoclave to Kenyan charity, Maasai Molar.
The NSK autoclave with vacuum and non-vacuum options was delivered last month to the charity which is based in the Aitong region of Kenya, home to the famous Maasai tribe, where dental care is extremely hard to access.
Kenya has just one dentist per 42,000 people and most of these practise in urban areas such as Nairobi, leaving the majority without access to the most basic dental care. Up to 40% of school-aged children have decayed teeth, which can lead to poorer concentration levels, lower achievement and psycho-social issues.
Maasai Molar was set up by Public Health and Education Manager at the FDI World Dental Federation, Rachael England in 2018, after she became aware of the situation when she volunteered in Kenya in 2015. Its mission is to provide safe, high-quality dental care for the Maasai and surrounding community, and its main work involves giving oral health education in schools and running volunteer dental clinics when it can deliver urgent treatment and carry out dental check-ups. They have recently been able to employ their first full-time community oral health worker who can continue the work year-round.
A charitable social network
When asked how the autoclave donation came about, Rachael told how NSK’s UK Managing Director, Alex Breitenbach contacted her through Facebook, where he had seen her posts about her vital charity work. “Alex got in touch to ask if there was anything NSK could do to support us. I immediately thought of an autoclave as we have only been able to use pressure cookers so far. This NSK autoclave which has vacuum and non-vacuum options will enable us to ensure we are consistently using cleaned and sterilised equipment which is essential to provide safe dentistry.”
Maasai Molar’s charitable work also extends beyond dental to help with menstrual health and also maternity services in Aitong. Young girls miss a lot of school due to their periods, so the charity distributes reusable sanitary pads to improve hygiene and reduce school absence.
To combat the unnecessarily high newborn mortality rate, Maasai Molar has also set up an electricity supply and running water for the previously unused maternity unit in the village. They also fund “Mama Packs” which provide all the basic kit an expectant mother will need to deliver a baby in a rural health facility.
According to Rachael, “NSK’s donated autoclave can be used by the maternity unit as well as the dental volunteers to improve the hygiene and safety for everyone.”
This is only the beginning, however, and Rachael and her co-trustees have ambitious plans for the charity and its work.
“As well as taking a team of dental professional volunteers over twice a year, our ultimate goal is to build a clinic and employ a community oral health officer, like a dental therapist, to be there all the time and be able to provide consistent dental care. We are nearing our fundraising target for building the clinic, but we need so much more help to be able to afford to pay a locally recruited, trained dental professional to work in the clinic.
And of course, we always need more supplies. It’s generous donations like our autoclave from NSK that can really make the difference.”