This dental volunteer project is a collaboration between the European Dental Students’ Association (EDSA), the Tanzanian Dental Students’ Association (TDSA) and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). The project idea was conceived by Dr Juha Ruotoistenmaki, Olivia Johnson King and Antun Sablek at the Association of Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) conference in August 2013.
The volunteer project will be located in Tanzania, specifically Dar es Salaam and Morogoro. Currently the dentist to population ratio in Tanzania is about 1:120,000 people compared to a ratio of 1:7,500, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in developing countries. With the aforementioned ratio in mind, it became clear that EDSA, TDSA and MUHAS could work together to make a significant impact on the provision of oral health care in Tanzania.
Following the ADEE conference in 2013 and with the support of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Health, Dr Ruotoistenmaki, Olivia Johnson King and Antun Sablek made a trip to Tanzania in September 2013 to establish links between the EDSA, TDSA and MUHAS. In July 2014, Olivia Johnson King (Kings College London, Dental Institute) returned to Tanzania with two other EDSA delegates; Cristina Rizea (Carol Davila University, Romania) and Tomas Ryan (Trinity College, Dublin) to conduct a feasibility study and finalise the plans for the dental volunteer project, which will commence in August 2015.