Here are our most frequently-asked questions about our dental training programmes

1. Who can apply for our dental training programmes?

Any qualified dentist with 1 year post-graduate experience, plus dental nurses, hygienists and therapists are welcome to apply. Overseas applicants with good spoken English and appropriate qualifications are very welcome too. If you are interested please contact volunteering@bridge2aid.org for more information.

2. How long would I be volunteering for? Can I come for more/less time?

Each training programme lasts for approximately 12-14 days. Each programme is tailored to fit the training needs of the health care workers and cannot be of a shorter or longer duration.

3. What will I be doing each day?

Dentists – You will be part of a team, training local health care workers in safe extraction techniques. Be prepared to carry out a lot of extractions yourself! Due to the remote nature of the clinics, restorative dentistry is not an option – extraction is the safest and most reliable procedure. Teaching the health care workers is your absolute priority.

Nurses, Hygienists & Therapists (Oral Health Team) – You will be supporting the team by ensuring the ‘clinic’ runs smoothly; preparing the necessary instruments and materials, sterilising using basic techniques, as well as assisting chair-side with ‘holding heads’ (no dental chairs)! As well as this, you will have the opportunity to work with the health care workers – training them in sterilisation techniques and oral health education.

4. How much does it cost to take part?

To volunteer you need to cover your own costs, either from your own pocket or through fundraising. From 2021 the trip costs for Dentists is £1450 and for Oral Health Team members it is £1200. Please note these costs are in UK sterling. Please be aware that you will have flights to pay for in addition to this cost.

5. What does the money cover and when does it need to be paid?

It includes all accommodation, food, and local transport costs for the trip. Your payment also includes travel and medical insurance cover for up to 16 days under our Banner Group Travel insurance policy.
Extra items you will need to pay for yourself, and cannot be paid for by money you have fundraised, include your visa, anti-malarial tablets and any vaccinations that you may require.

£150 deposit is payable on your acceptance of a place. The balance of the money is payable in a series of instalments. For full details contact volunteering@bridge2aid.org

6. Travelling to East Africa

You will be notified by the Programme delivery team at Bridge2Aid of the flights you need to book and how.

7. Do I need travel insurance?

Yes: insurance is vital to cover yourself whilst in East Africa which is why up to 16 days of cover is included in your trip fees. Under our Banner Group Travel insurance policy we know that you will be getting the right cover for volunteering.

8. What hours will I be working? Will I get the chance to experience any other aspects of East Africa?

Our volunteer trips are hard work – expect to be out between 7am and 5.30pm (including travel time) while carrying out the training. There is one full day off during each programme. At the end of each programme there is also the opportunity to experience a short safari or other adventure (at additional cost).

9. Where will I be staying?

As you are working and need to be rested we plan your stay in hotels with electricity, hot and cold running water with clean, safe and comfortable private rooms. However the utilities infrastructure is less developed than at home so sometimes we do find ourselves without running water and/or electricity for short periods.

10. What will I be eating?

We will provide you with a basic lunch consisting of beans, rice, plantain etc. Most hotels will serve a buffet in the evenings which is included in your stay.

11. I have specific food issues; can you accommodate me?

We will do our best to provide a diet suitable to your needs, but please tell us in advance if you have any food allergies or eat a restricted diet. Please help us to help you by giving us as much information as possible, in plenty of time.

12. What will the weather be like?

East Africa has a warm climate with two seasons of rain each year: the masika, or long rains that fall from mid-March to the end of May, and the mvuli, or short rains, that come intermittently throughout November and parts of December, and sometimes stretch into early January.

13. What are the health risks in East Africa?

The main area of concern is Malaria, and everyone is advised to avoid mosquito bites where possible by using insect repellent spray, wearing long clothes and sleeping under a net (provided). All volunteers should take appropriate anti-malaria prophylactics. You should be up-to-date with Tetanus and Hepatitis (A+B). Your doctor or local travel clinic can advise you on other vaccinations you may need.

14. How do you manage health risks for volunteers?

All volunteers will need to complete our medical form at or shortly after the time of making their application. Few conditions would prevent someone taking part, but for us to manage each individual we need as much information as possible.

With the change in diet some volunteers may experience some degree of diarrhoea or stomach upset. This is not a major problem, but the diet can cause considerable exacerbation of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and this must be considered before applying.

It should be noted that all volunteers are ultimately responsible for their own health.

15. What about HIV?

HIV is still quite common in East Africa and cross-infection control is of the utmost importance. Sterilisation procedures and the use of universal precautions are paramount, and we take every care in this area. We have a robust and effective protocol should a needle stick injury occur.

16. I want to apply. How do I go about it?

Click here to apply online. If you’d like to contact a member of our team, please email volunteering@bridge2aid.org

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