The MalDent Project is impacting on many aspects of the academic work of Glasgow Dental School and this was especially evident during the week beginning Monday 2nd December 2019.
On Tuesday 3rd December we enjoyed Graduation Day for our postgraduate students who had completed the MSc in Oral Sciences. One of these students was Inas Ghonsol, whose project dissertation was entitled ‘Oral health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa with special reference to Malawi’.
Some of the data for the project were collected during the Smileawi CPD Conference that was held in Mzuzu in September 2019, and reported in an earlier post. Following successful completion of her Masters project, Inas is now keen to pursue a PhD, in which she plans to study professional roles and the developing dental team model in Malawi, following the launch of the BDS programme at the University of Malawi College of Medicine.
Following the Graduation on the afternoon of 3rd December, I headed straight to Trades House in the Merchant City area of Glasgow for the Incorporation of Barbers Medical & Dental Elective Awards 2019. Each year, the Incorporation of Barbers generously hosts a competition in which medical and dental students, selected by the University of Glasgow for the high quality of their elective studies, present their projects to a panel of judges. This year, two of the selected dental students, Katie Reed-Challen and Kirsty Smith, had completed their elective studies in Malawi, with the charity Smileawi. Their joint presentation was first class and a great reflection of the pilot child oral health survey in which they participated.
Finally, on Friday 6th December 2019, the West of Scotland Division of the Faculty of General Dental Practice held its annual Study Day at the Glasgow Science Centre. This is a large event, attracting dentists from all over Scotland. In addition to the lectures, the event hosts a trade show and the Dental School is very grateful that each year it is invited to participate. Furthermore, the organisers allow all of our BDS 5 students to attend and to receive a series of presentations aimed specifically at their needs.
Our presence, with a stand, provides a wonderful opportunity to network with students, alumni and with colleagues from the dental industry. This year, we had a major focus on our work in Malawi and shared our stand with Smileawi. Once again we were able to share the work undertaken in Malawi by our undergraduate students during their elective projects last Summer. There was much interest from the delegates who visited us and it was another chance to spread the word about the MalDent Project and the work of Smileawi.
The current Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice, Dr Ian Mills, attended the Study Day and came across for a chat. Ian is a Glasgow graduate and was a contemporary of Nigel and Vicky Milne, the founders of Smileawi. Ian is a strong supporter of Smileawi and the MalDent Project. Earlier this year, Nigel and Vicky were the recipients of the FGDP Dean’s Award in recognition of their tremendous work with Smileawi. This was a great reunion photo opportunity!
The increasing involvement of so many participants in our work in Malawi, including undergraduate and postgraduate students, academic staff, charities and related professional organisations, in both Scotland and Malawi, is creating a very vibrant community. The three events in this post, together with establishment of our link with WHO described in the previous post, all in one week, reflect the multiple facets of the Maldent Project and the tremendous support we have to maintain our current momentum.