Since 2003, Children's Health International Medical Project Seattle (CHIMPS) has been sending volunteers to this remote, mountainous, and war torn area of El Salvador. Early on, they found that dental decay was a major health problem. So they teamed with Enlace and the local health committee to address the problem by teaching oral hygiene, nutritional counselling, and training health workers how to apply fluoride. However, in spite of these efforts, they found that 42% of the children in the area still suffer from what they consider severe dental decay (40% have moderate decay). Of this same group of children, 45% experienced dental pain related to tooth decay.
As a result, they are increasing their efforts to combat this suffering. They have been joined by SeaMar dental clinic and Wisdomtooth to provide dental volunteers. In December (3rd - 12th) of 2010, they will be sending volunteers to provide direct, definitive care to what they hope will be 250 children. At the same time they will begin training the local health workers how to apply sealants to prevent teeth from becoming decayed in the first place. This effort will continue with groups going to Los Abelines every 4-6 months.
If you would like to volunteer on this or future trips, or donate dental supplies, please contact Wisdomtooth, or CHIMPS.