By all accounts, the five-week Trinity Koha Dental Clinic was a success. In 24 clinic days, 12 volunteer dentists saw 463 patients and provided $165,658 worth of oral healthcare free of charge.
Operating oral health clinics in New Zealand was never a part of our plan. But when the island nations closed their borders due to Covid, we wondered what we could do with what we had. The idea of using our dental container in Aotearoawas born.
We were aware that there was a need for oral healthcare in New Zealand, but we did not know how great that need was. It is easy to look at dental statistics. But in the clinics, those numbers took on the faces of people trying to hold down jobs, raise families, put food on the table–all the while enduring treatable pain. We are grateful for the partnership of Trinity Lands, without their support as our platinum partner this would not have been possible.
This pilot programme was an eye-opener. While we are thrilled with the number of people we reached and the quality of care they received, our efforts only scratched the surface. What we have encountered convinces us that we cannot simply turn away. The Trinity Koha Dental Clinic is not the long term solution for the ongoing oral health crisis in New Zealand. However, it is an answer to those we can reach through the clinic.
Preparations are well underway to run another Trinity Koha Dental Clinic. From September 27 to October 22, the mobile clinic will serve the Tauranga area with locations at two locations, one in Judea and the other in Welcome Bay.
It appears the mobile dental clinic has become a part of who we are. We are thrilled, excited and a little taken back by the prospect. Yet, hope is being given, healing is happening, and lives are improved. We are exceedingly grateful for this unexpected ministry.