February 2005 to the Present
Dr. Drew Cahoon, a general dentist from Raymond, AB Canada began visiting East Africa in Feb 2005 with his daughter Wendy Penny, As Rotarian’s, they treated patients at schools, orphanages and at Mengo Hospital Dental Clinic. After meeting Uganda’s Minister of Health and discussing the educational needs at Uganda’s dental school at Makerere University, it became the goal of Drew, Dr. Louis Muwazi, and Dr. Isaac Okullo to upgrade the facilities and equipment at the school. In two and a half years, Drew was able to raise $1,200,000 with financing from the Rotary Foundation and several groups and individuals, to take the dental school from having only five functioning dental chairs and two horribly outdated dental x-ray machines to a renovated clinic with 20 new Belmont chairs,15 refurbished chairs, a Panorex, 4 intra-oral x-ray units, new vacuum systems, sterilization units, and other equipment and instruments.
Since February of 2005, Dr Cahoon has brought 16 groups of Dentists, Hygienists, Assistants, Health Care Workers and other volunteers to Uganda and Rwanda to provide training for local health care workers and to provide dental treatment to local children, patients in need and missionaries in both countries.
It has become Drew’s passion to train Public Health Dental Officers in Uganda and Dental Therapists in Rwanda to go to local schools and provide Oral Hygiene Instruction, Screening, and treat students by filling teeth right in their classrooms with Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (a means of excavating the decay from teeth and placing a Glass Ionomer Cement, which adheres to tooth structure, for about $2.50 per filling). As of Dec 2011, Dr. Cahoon has trained and provides financial assistance for 16 PHDO’s in Uganda and 12 Dental Therapists in Rwanda to each provide these Outreach Services to 8 schools per year.