The Scottish Dental Show was held at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena on 26th and 27th April 2019. Bridge2Aid had a stand and Dentaid agreed to share its stand with Smileawi, so this provided an ideal opportunity for Niall Rogerson and I to visit the show and meet with colleagues from the charities which are supporting the MalDent Project.
After grabbing a sandwich and a cup of tea, we headed to the Bridge2Aid stand, where we spent a very enjoyable and interesting hour with Paul Tasman, the Operations Manager. Bridge2Aid is currently awaiting the outcome of an application to the Tropical Hygiene and Education Trust (THET) to fund the establishment of a partnership with the Dental Association of Malawi. The longer-term goal of the partnership, in conjunction with the MalDent Project and Smileawi, is to establish dental training programmes in rural Malawi for Clinical Officers who will be taught to undertake emergency dentistry. This model has been developed very successfully over 15 years by Bridge2Aid in Tanzania and was the subject of a previous blog post. Paul will visit Malawi in June to meet key stakeholders, including officials in the Ministry of Health, as an initial step in the process and Shaenna Loughnane, the CEO of Bridge2Aid, will visit in September.
After our discussions with Paul, we moved to the Dentaid / Smileawi stand, which was a very busy place! It was great to catch up with Jacqueline James, Overseas Projects & Volunteering Manager for Dentaid, and Stuart Little who is a fellow Edinburgh dental alumnus who is closely associated with Dentaid. Vicky Milne from Smileawi was also present with some of her team. In addition to covering off some business linked to our activities in Malawi, we also enjoyed some chat about the KiltWalk, due to take place on the following Sunday over 23 miles from Glasgow Green to Balloch on Loch Lomond. Smileawi and the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow both had teams taking part, with Vicky and myself among them.
Dentaid had their new pop-up poster displayed, with some very impressive numbers reflecting the many ways in which their activities are supporting dental healthcare globally.
One of the most exciting aspects of the MalDent Project is the way in which a number of organisations are working together in support of common aims. The shared ‘base camp’ between Dentaid and Smileawi was reflective of this ethos.
As we left the show, Niall and I reflected on the enthusiasm and excitement that had underpinned all our discussions. The involvement of Bridge2Aid, Dentaid and Smileawi with the MalDent Project is making a tremendous difference to what can be achieved – the power of partnership.
For those who may be wondering how the KiltWalk turned out, both teams survived and the donations are still accumulating. Many thanks to all our generous sponsors! Here are some scenes from the day: