The Gamal Dental Clinic in Guinea
The beginning of a partnership in Guinea
In May 2018, the Gamal Abdul Nasser University in Conakry expressed the need for a dedicated space for student clinical training at its dental school – the only one in Guinea. Previous dental students graduated without proper clinical experience – a vital aspect for practical education and training, decreasing their ability to successfully enter the workforce. Gamal leadership had plans to renovate the dental school, but were unable to procure funding. After a proposal from the dental school, Mercy Ships agreed to renovate and equip the first floor of the dental school and use the school as Mercy Ships dental clinic for the 2018-19 field service in Guinea.
During their 10-month field service in Guinea 2018-2019, Mercy Ships carefully selected four students for mentoring and working alongside the Mercy Ships dental team, seeing patients for almost 6 months, and learning and improving their clinical skills daily. During their mentorship, these students performed 5,554 dental procedures on 1,270 patients.
Continuing the partnership
The leadership at the Gamal Dental Clinic wanted to continue its partnership with Mercy Ships beyond the departure of the Africa Mercy in June 2019. They envisioned fully implementing clinical training into their dental school curriculum and asked for continued support. Mercy Ships agreed to continue with this partnership and help the clinical training become financially sustainable for the school. The collaboration materialized in several areas:
- Mercy Ships helped clinical training become financially self-sufficient.
- 121 students received clinical training / mentoring.
- 10 graduate students were selected to follow patients during a one-year clinical training program.
- Additional renovations were made to accommodate the clinic’s future needs, including a reception area, waiting room, locker rooms and office for Mercy Ships Guinea.
- The dental clinic was inaugurated on March 19, 2020 by Gamal University, where the students of the dental school began their first consultations with patients. Although COVID-19 led to its temporary closure of the clinic it is open again with modifications.
- In Guinea, graduate students in dental medicine who trained through the partnership with Gamal University now supervise the school’s next student classes.
Active amidst the current health crisis
Today, despite the challenges of COVID-19, Mercy Ships is still extremely active in Guinea and continuing a collaboration with Gamal University. In fact, Mercy Ships helped the dental school modify their student dental clinic in response to COVID-19 by creating separate cubicles to ensure a safer environment for patient care and student training.
In addition, Mercy Ships is actively contributing to distance education during this time. From a digital screen, dentists can provide hands-on training to their students. Soon they will be treating their own patients.
Mercy Ships also complements its clinical education with sessions for dental students through e-learning, on-site training and mentoring. Today, these students are starting to see patients in their dental clinic.
Freshly refitted hospital ship, the upgraded Africa Mercy® has arrived at the island nation to build on the charity’s longstanding collaboration and will provide specialized surgeries in various fields, including maxillofacial and ear nose and throat, general, pediatric specialized general, pediatric orthopedic, cataract surgery, and reconstructive plastics.
In 2015, in an operating room on board the Africa Mercy while docked in Madagascar, the course of Vanya’s life changed.
Years have now passed since Vanya’s journey toward healing. In the time since, her improved ability to walk allowed her to return to school, where she loved studying environmental science and learning about the world around her.
Darryl Anderson shares his thank you message after Christmas to express his gratitude for your support and dedication to our mission.
At Mercy Ships Canada, we serve those who have lost hope, bringing healing and transformation. Our volunteers, inspired by their faith, work selflessly to perform surgeries that renew not only bodies but also faith and hope. This Christmas, be a part of the miracle by making a donation to Mercy Ships Canada. Your contribution will help renew faith and offer a second chance at life. Together, we can make a significant impact on those who have suffered for too long.
Our journey continues, and we’re excited to have you by our side as we embark on new adventures of compassion and change.
The last time Catherine Conteh saw the deeply familiar smile in front of her in Freetown, it was under dramatically different circumstances. Learn more about Aly’s act of kindness!