Ak’ Tenamit’s floating dental clinic makes free dental care available in the Rio Dulce region. The clinic is lead by a Q’eqchi’ dental technician and supported by foreign volunteers. Our dental program treats patients from Ak’ Tenamit’s headquarters and travels to visit 18 Q’eqchi communities along the Río Dulce river system. When the boat arrives at its destination, communities that live near the river travel to the boat; however, in order to serve very remote communities, the dentist accompanies our mobile clinic during their visits.
The dental boat is an old Catamaran houseboat and was privately donated and specially outfitted by Rotary Clubs in Guatemala and the United States. Our clinic is the only public dental care available to the rural villages we serve as well as the entire Livingston area. The lack of funding for gasoline to power the boat, however, prevented it from making all planned dental visits and treating patients when they arrived.
The dental clinic treats 1,500 patients annually
We provide the following services:
Ak’ Tenamit’s dental technician recently attended a training course in dental hygiene and sterilization of equipment. In 2011 we hope to be able to train him to perform dental protesis (dentures) as many people have lost their teeth and would benefit from this service.
In addition to working with patients, Ak’ Tenamit works to instill the importance of dental hygiene with our students and community members. We implement education campaigns and regularly distribute toothpaste and toothbrushes – often to people who have never owned them. Our campaign has been so successful that most students now carry toothbrushes in their pockets so that they can brush their teeth after lunch.