HOI’s new dental program is in full swing thanks to generous donors whose gifts have provided funding for both new equipment and staff. Since oral health is critical to overall well-being, offering preventative and restorative dental care will ultimately lessen disease rates and improve the quality of life in the Agalta Valley. The goals of the program are to provide dental education to residents, as well as fluoride treatments, access to basic dental supplies, and preventative and restorative services.
Because many foods cannot be chewed properly without healthy teeth, people without them miss out on essential nutrients. Diseases in the mouth are often associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and adverse pregnancy outcomes, and because changes in the mouth and gums are often early signs of systemic diseases, regular dental visits can be used to identify and treat these diseases before they progress. Those who suffer from poor dental health are also less likely to gain employment and even smile.
In late 2013, Dr. Alejandra Beltran Mejia, a young dentist currently completing a year of community service, joined the HOI medical staff. A permanent dentist and dental assistant are made possible by the generous financial support of donors, including a $25,000 matching grant from a church partner for ongoing sustainability of the practice.
These funds are being utilized to repair existing dental equipment, to purchase a portable dental chair, drill, and compressor for providing dental services in remote villages, and to acquire a new vehicle that will transport equipment to these locations. The dental facility at the ranch clinic will also be expanded to allow adequate space for staff and patients.
North American dental professionals have contributed equipment and instruments in addition to many years of support, including traveling to the Agalta Valley to provide services to the people of Honduras. As this ministry grows, we invite dental professionals to partner with our dental staff in Honduras and maximize the impact on local communities. To learn more about volunteering as a dental professional or participating in the matching grant, please contact Jerry Eickhoff.