Whilst the Jungle Camp was established in Calais, the Refugee Crisis Foundation provided emergency dental treatment to residents in the Calais camp. Our groups of volunteers arrived over a bi-weekly cycle to provide emergency dental aid.
The Calais dental project was a major initiative undertaken by Refugee Crisis Foundation. It ran successfully from Summer 2015 until the eventual closure of the camp, making a large impact to the refugee community. Initially the dental team was a small group of fewer than 10 volunteers who were qualified dentists, dental students and general volunteers from the UK and France. Over a short space of time, the dental volunteer group grew very quickly into a larger team that provided bi-monthly dental care and welfare aid to thousands of refugees in the Calais, Dunkirk and Grand-Synthe camps.
Through the collaboration with charities such as MSF and Care4Calais, the support of several dental practices and the donations of mobile dental chairs from DentAid, the Refugee Crisis Foundation had sufficient resources and equipment to maintain fortnightly emergency dental services. A caravan was set-up, which was used to facilitate the delivery of emergency dental aid.
The wide range of abilities and professional backgrounds of our volunteers ensured that skills were utilized in the most efficient and effective way. For example, non-dental volunteers were responsible for the set-up of tents and ensured they were well-equipped to see as many patients as possible during each weekend. Our dental students triaged patients, provided oral hygiene education, and assisted the qualified dentists in treatment. The patients were filtered through to the dentists, who were then able to see over 100 – 150 patients in a weekend.
During a typical weekend, the Refugee Crisis Foundation met with patients with a vast range of symptoms and issues. Many of the residents were high risk patients, with several medical conditions and poor oral health. The treatment offered ranged from caries excavation and stabilization using hand instruments, to extractions. Oral hygiene aids were also lacking in the camps and so these were distributed amongst the refugees, along with simple oral hygiene advice.
The Refugee Crisis Foundation endeavor to set-up future projects which deliver dental aid to wider refugee communities. Please get in touch if you would like further information.