PR — The Sandals Foundation & Great Shape! Inc. Free Dental Care Clinics held over the last two weeks (August 28 to September 1, 2023) surpassed the 1000 Smiles target, reaching 1857 Grenadians. The services provided were cleanings, fillings, extractions, fluorides and sealants and for the first time, a total of 32 root canals.
Volunteers, mainly from Canada and the United States of America (USA) shared their skills and time to make a difference in the lives of Grenadians. For volunteer Dr. Amin Alibhai, Oral Surgeon based in Ottowa Canada, the experience is intrinsically rewarding, “I’ve had the opportunity to assist with Great Shape! in St. Lucia and now here, for my second time in Grenada and it’s a good feeling. Once you start making a difference and paying it forward, life rewards you in unexpected ways.”
For General Dentist, Dr. Dale Feichtinger, the decision to give to Grenada was simple, “My wife and I vacationed at Sandals Grenada earlier this year and fell in love with the people of Grenada. Once we heard about this opportunity to comeback and give back we seized it and what a rewarding week it has been!”
Similarly, for Dr. Barry Biner, Periodontist from Baton Rouge (Los Angeles, USA) who lead a group of final year dental students from University of Toronto, Grenada feels like home, “The people are so warm, so gracious, and full of gratitude for our efforts. This is our third time to Grenada and we will love to continue serving here.”
According to Grenada’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Jonathan LaCrette, this initiative is aligned with the goals of his ministry, “Oral health care is not to be overlooked. This is a vital component of our current public health programme and this public drive of visiting volunteers has increased the awareness of the general population, and we are grateful for this.”
A new major element of the dental drive was a children’s program, called “Seal Grenada” providing preventative care with the application of a protective seal on the teeth that lasts up to four years and prevents the formation of cavities. After analysis of former years of outreach, the Grenada Dental Association recognized the need for a children’s program and requested support which was provided from Great Shape! Inc., Sandals Foundation, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and another local non- profit which already spearheaded children’s dental outreach, Spice Isle Smiles.
Seal Grenada launched at the Corinth Government School, and reached a total of 589 children mainly from the parish of St. David. Local dentists also joined in the efforts and gave of their time to help the team reach as many children as possible, namely, Dr. Amanda Roberts, Dr. Crisan Warren, Dr. Evelyn Basulto, and Dr. Tara Baksh.
President of the Grenada Dental Association, Dr. Julie DuBois shared, “I am eternally grateful for the support of our collaborators. I am happy for Grenada’s children! Because of you they can smile brighter, and with confidence because you cared to lend your support to brighten their future.”