Dr Ross Napoli has long been working with underprivileged children in South East Asia. After many years serving the Born to Live Charity in Thailand, he continues the long tradition at Parkside Dental Clinic of providing aid to those most in need of basic medical and dental care.
There are many places which demand the skills of medical professionals like ourselves and Cambodia definitely ranks high on the list as one of these. According to the United Nations, up to 1 million children are currently under the care of institutions, charities and foster homes in Cambodia, with many more abandoned on the street and suffering from extreme poverty, malnutrition, poor parenting, dismantled or failed family structures.
Part of the childrens’ suffering is dental (infection, pain, fever, poor appetite) which, in the absence of treatment, can be extremely detrimental. Many children have chronic illnesses such as Hep B, Hep C and HIV which compound their problems.
Cambodia World Family (CWF) is an organisation which provides free dental care and training to local staff in order to relieve some distress in the lives of these children and return some dignity and self-respect to both children and staff. Their local staff, together with volunteer dentists form a platform for dental treatment and provide essential nutritional and health education.
CWF also develops partnerships with a small number of carefully chosen institutions, universities, schools and orphanages to set-up on-site dental care facilities to cater for their own children and often those of the neighbourhood community. They then provide the expertise as well as staff/volunteers and have their own fully serviced premises with dental chairs. The treatment costs are sponsored by the institutions involved and rely on volunteer time and donations.
Dr Napoli was fortunate enough to serve at the CWF Phnom Penh Clinic recently to provide care to local children, help educate the staff/carers and provide valued tuition to student dentists and therapists. It was an incredible experience in a beautiful and friendly country still very much recovering from atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge and unstable government since. Despite this, the visit was enormously fruitful. The amazingly dedicated staff, including the local dentist Dr Boran, greatly benefited from our expertise on preventive care and wise allocation of resources in mass populations.
After working with this wonderful organisation we have committed to continue to provide support and funding where possible through donations, offer educational assistance for staff, and provide clinical advice where necessary through on-line support. Who knows… the charm of Cambodia may even take Dr Napoli back regularly in future?
Many thanks must be given to all the amazingly dedicated staff at the clinic in Phnom Penh, the many students who give selflessly of their time, donations received from Garth Lodge at Gunz Dental and Dr Robert Ogle who runs the clinic and facilitates all visits.