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Loma Linda gives free dental care to central Jamaica

Published:Monday | June 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Dr Mark Edwards (right), co-ordinator of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Dental Hygiene Programme looks with active interest at the procedure being administered by students of the Loma Linda University Dental School during free dental care at the NCU Dental Health Clinic in Mandeville.
A dental volunteer from Loma Linda School of Dentistry explains proper dental hygiene to a patient at the Northern Caribbean University Dental Hygiene Clinic in Mandeville.

Residents from communities adjoining Sydenham, St Catherine, and Mandeville in Manchester are now smiling a lot more thanks to the free dental care they received from a team of volunteer dentists from the Loma Linda University (LLU), School of Dentistry in Southern California, United States of America. This follows a successful missionary trip to the island last year when hundreds of adults and students benefited.

"It was important to me and LLU that we honour the promise that we made last year to return as we were unable to see everyone," said Dr Lincoln Edwards, assistant professor for the School of Dentistry and Medicine at the university and head of the missionary team. "This missionary trip is twofold as it provides the students with the experience of being missionaries and brightens the smiles of my fellow Jamaicans."

The team's two-week trip covers two locations, the Hiram S. Walters Health and Outreach Centre in Sydenham, St Catherine, and the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville. The outreach project, which started on June 10, will end on June 24.

Funding the visit

The Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (CJC), which owns and operates the Hiram S. Walters Health and Outreach Centre, has spent more than half a million dollars to facilitate the visit of the team that includes six doctors and 17 students.

"Holistic community evangelism is the goal and vision for our conference; that is why we have repositioned this H. S. Walters Clinic as a health and outreach centre," said Pastor Levi Johnson, president of CJC. "The mandate of the church is touching and transforming lives and I am grateful that Loma Linda University has chosen to partner with us once again."

Many persons have turned out for the free dental services such as cleaning, filling and extraction, along with dental hygiene education.

"I am here to get my teeth clean and I am so happy for this service. This programme is a good thing and shows that the Adventist Church is interested in the well-being of the communities it serves," said Jacqueline Turner, as she eagerly waited her turn.

Loma Linda University is a Seventh-day Adventist educational health-sciences institution with eight schools and more than 4,000 students. More than 55 programmes are offered by the schools of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Religion and Behavioural Health.