Volunteering Overview

We recruit dental professionals – dentists, nurses, therapists and hygienists – year round to take part in our Dental Training Programme in East Africa.

Volunteering to train health care workers in emergency dental care is an opportunity to change the lives of thousands of people who currently suffer from debilitating dental pain with no hope of treatment.

Volunteering with Bridge2Aid Australia is an experience like no other. Many of our volunteers return home feeling that they’ve taken far more from the experience than they have given. We believe this is the reason we have such a high returner rate. Once you’ve seen first-hand the work you’re helping to make happen you’ll be astounded.

This dental training programme is different from other programmes. It’s the only volunteer programme I’ve found that enables me to leave skills behind. From start to finish, the whole process was exceptionally well organised.

The training itself is hard work but so worth it. I have to admit that at first, on day one, I wondered if the training could possibly work. The health care workers had done their initial theory provided by Bridge2Aid prior to our arrival but had no practical understanding whatsoever. They couldn’t even use a mirror! But over the first few days I noticed the phrases I was using changed. I went from ‘no, no, not like that, like this’, to ‘yes, go on, go for it, commit!’ to ‘you tell me’ – and they did! In fact by the end I felt like an assistant, just there to wipe some blood or move a light. That was really something.

It’s an amazing feeling, on that last day of the programme, to know that the trained Health Care Workers are carrying out procedures correctly.  I’ll be back home and they will be in Tanzania, safely working and helping people.  On other trips I’ve been on, once you’ve left that’s it – it’s all over, but this way we leave years of capacity. It’s an incredible feeling and one I can’t wait to experience again.

Kevin – Dentist

There is no way to sugar-coat Africa, the deprivation I witnessed was heart-breaking and it really puts things into perspective. Many of our patients had been in pain for many months, even years. They were so grateful for what we were doing for them and Tanzania is a beautiful country – I loved it. I have special memories from the 8 days in clinic. I had an important role in training the Health Care Workers in oral health education and decontamination of instruments. Being part of this teaching process was so rewarding – passing on my skills which would in turn benefit thousands of people in remote communities. On the last day in clinic, we treated patients in the morning and in the afternoon we had a ceremony for the Health Care Workers. On that afternoon they were each presented with a certificate and set of hand instruments to enable them to carry out extractions. For me, it wasn’t until this final day that it really hit home what we were doing. Wow! We hadn’t just treated as many patients as we could; we had trained these Health Care Workers so that tomorrow, next week, or next month when we aren’t here, they can relieve a patient from dental pain.

Laura – Dental Nurse

Currently we send out around 7 – 10 teams per year. Each team has spaces for up to 8 dentists and 5 nurses/assistants/hygienists or therapists who are willing to work in remote rural clinics developing the skills of health worker and delivering emergency dental services to the community. Generally, 7 health workers are trained during each programme, and we treat upwards of 500 patients as part of the training. Volunteers taking part can expect to be away for approximately 12-14 days.

We are continually welcoming new applicants for upcoming programmes. You must have a minimum of 1 year’s post-graduate experience for dentist applicants.

You can read more about the experiences of our volunteer dental professionals by clicking here and should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on volunteering@bridge2aid.org

If you’ve read through our info and the FAQs click here to apply online.

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