Ipswich Hospital Dentist to undertake charity mission to remote Nepal where oral health can be deadly

Colchester-based Priyasma Gauchan will visit Lo Manthang, Nepal, on a charity dental mission. Pictur

Colchester-based Priyasma Gauchan will visit Lo Manthang, Nepal, on a charity dental mission. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL - Credit: Archant

A junior dentist from Ipswich Hospital is to embark on the first charity dental mission to provide care and education to people living in remote Nepal.

Priyasma Gauchan, 29, who lives in Colchester, will visit Lo Manthang, which is an eight mile drive from the nearest town, with the charity Smiles Across Nepal to help combat poor oral health, which can be life-threatening.

Ms Gauchan’s father was a British Army Gurkha officer before the family settled in Colchester. She lived in Nepal for two years and has since returned to offer dental help.

To fund her visit, she has organised a gala dinner at Marks Tey Hotel, Colchester, on Sunday, including a three-course meal, Nepalese themed show, live Himalayan sand art, raffle and disco, She said: “Lots of people in Lo Manthang, and Mustang region need help with long-standing dental and oral pain and infections, conditions that are easily treatable in our side of the world.

“The villagers from inaccessible parts of Upper Mustang, may have to walk five or six days to reach the nearest health care centre and even then, they can’t really afford it. The same deadly off-road tracks can take a standard car or jeep a rocky eight-to ten hour drive to the nearest town.

“The villagers may not necessary value the importance of their teeth but poor dental care and lack of education affects their social and everyday life – the inability to eat and drink with the poor oral health and dysfunction can really deteriorate the general health of the child, a mother or an elderly who has no idea what is causing the problem at the first place. In some cases, dental abscess left untreated can be life-threatening.

“A lot of villagers we will meet, won’t even own a toothbrush. Some think brushing their teeth will wear the teeth, which we know is not the case.

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“It’s about educating them, promoting healthier diets and changing their perceptions and some cultural beliefs about their oral health.”

Smiles Across Nepal (SAN) will work alongside staff from Dhulikhel Hospital. The charity has established strong links with Kathmandu University and Dhulikhel, a charity hospital close to Kathmandu.

“Part of this visit will involve carrying out academic teaching and specialist training to hospital staff and dental students there, so they can carry on practicing good dental care on a long term basis,” Ms Gauchan added.

“We provide funds to equip a full functioning dental unit in various outreach centres and have set up Oral Health Education course approved by the Northern Deanery (Post graduate Institute for Medicine & Dentistry), to allow local residents to help their disadvantaged communities.”

For tickets to the Gala Dinner, contact Priyasma on 0785 9887247 or email her.

Visit her mydonate page to donate.

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