When we arrived at Bonthe district hospital, we were taken to our allocated premises to set up the clinic. Unfortunately, the room was not prepared and it was bursting at the seams with old hospital equipment. I was deeply concerned by this as I only had 2 days to set up a clinic and leave my colleagues behind to treat the patients and train the staff, working at the hospital, who will continue to run the clinic.
After spending the first day cleaning up the room and setting up the clinic, it became apparent that the general surgeons at the hospital had intentions to use the newly refurbished, (previously redundant) room for their patient overflow. These ideas were soon quashed and we were left to continue with our primary aim of improving access to dental care in Sierra Leone.
I was able to leave the district hospital in the very capable hands of our lead dentist, Sohair, with the help of a couple of our previously trained therapists.
They successfully managed to treat patients and train several healthcare workers to administer local anaesthetic and safetly extract teeth.