International dental charity Dentaid is seeking volunteers to provide emergency dentistry at two refugee camps in northern Greece.
The charity has been approached by the Red Cross which says there is a desperate need for dentistry at its camps in Cherso and Nea Kavala which are each home to 4,000 people.
Although there is some basic healthcare in the camps there is no dental provision adding to the appalling suffering faced by thousands of people who have fled their homes.
Dentaid is putting together a team of volunteer dentists, dental nurses and therapists who will fly to Thessaloniki in northern Greece, which is a short distance from the camps at Kilkis. Working from a tent and using portable equipment, the team will provide pain relieving dental treatment for the adults and children caught up in the humanitarian crisis.
“Dentistry is an area where there is a real gap in provision and none of the agencies are providing it,” said Gwen Wilson from the Red Cross. “There is a desperate need and we are keen to get volunteers out there as soon as possible, although they will need to be able to work in the most basic conditions.”
The Red Cross has been working tirelessly to improve sanitation in the camps but access to personal hygiene items like soap and toothpaste has been very limited. Many of the refugees have been suffering dental pain for a long time and have developed complications affecting their health.
“The images we have seen of people in the refugee camps in Greece are deeply upsetting and worrying,” said Andrew Evans, strategic director of Dentaid. “We know there is a huge dental need and we are pleased that the Red Cross has approached Dentaid so that we can help.”
A small team of dentists is planning to travel to Greece in the coming weeks to establish the first dental clinics in the camps. Dentaid plans to send a larger team of volunteers in June. Volunteers will be asked to cover the cost of their trip and Dentaid will oversee their registration with the Greek authorities.
To find out more or to register interest please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01794 324249.