UR Dental Clinic : Pressing forward to improve community health

#MURANGWA Darius 20-06-2020

With a population of more than 12 million people and a high demand for dentists to serve them, UR through itsCollege of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS)offers bachelor’s degree program in dental surgery and dental therapy. This is intended to address the human resource deficit in dental care specialized services. In that regard the college has established two dental clinics, with one in Nyarugenge Campus and the other at Remera Campus. Now we have a milestone on our hands for the future of the nation’s oral health.

The University shall also continuously work in partnership with Harvard School of Dental Medicine to share best practices as well as expertise to enhance both the quality of the programs and the clinical services offered at the clinics through the academic staff exchange and capacity building program.
Given the intricate connection of oral health to overall health, the rise of non-communicable diseases, and the potential for preventive care to mitigate disease, it was critical that dentistry school be involved in community health. This brought in two main benefits :

Oral health check up done by a CMHS dental student

Student internship and clinical practice

Before the establishment of the dental clinics, the college faced a huge challenge to find clinical placements for hands on practice for the students due to the limited number of supervisors in the available dental clinics and hospitals around the country. Even the few available clinics did not have sufficient equipment and supervisors to manage the student trainees. Other clinics were also hesitant to have trainees use their equipment so as to minimize the risk of damage.

Affordability of dental services to the community

Some highly specialized dental services and orthodontics (correction of mal-positioned teeth and jaws) are known to be quite expensive. For this reason the college has come in to make it affordable by training a pool of highly competitive dental surgeons and dental therapists.

At Remera Campus the low income earning part of the community can now have access to services they would under normal circumstances find hard to pay for. At a cost which ranges fromRwf1,000 to 5,000 patients can get services such as panoramic x-ray, dental filling, oral cleaning and root canal treatment.
In partnership with experts from South Korea, the college is now working on a more highly specialized area of dental implants surgery and dental crowns.

The clinic at Remera campus recently got donations such as phantoms and dental chairs as well as implant tools and equipment from partners in Germany and South Korea. One dental chair can cost USD 5,000 depending on the quality and manufacturer while one implant set can cost more than USD 3000. This is meant to highlight how costly dental services can be and hence become unaffordable to the ordinary patient. This is what the college has come in to address. Raise dental services in Rwanda to international standards,yet lowering the cost for the public.

The staff at the College Dental School and Clinic are from Rwanda and other countries namely ; Cuba, India, USA and Korea.

Students can now have their practical sessions and exams from the Campus Clinic saving both time and money they used to spend on traveling looking for clinical placements at various hospitals. Patients interviewed have all expressed their gratitude to the UR for bringing the cost low while raising the standard of service.

“It was hard work,” acknowledged UR-CMHS Ag. Principal, Associate Professor Jeanne Kagwiza. “We have done our best and worked together as a team, to reach further than any one of us could reach alone. I am very proud.”

Story by
By Eric Mugisha
In charge of Communication and Community Engagement
Remera Campus