Kenya - The Eric Dental Clinic

The Eric Dental Clinic, Mutomo, Kenya (2004)
by Chatarina Wangefjord*, Faculty of Odontology, Malmo University, Sweden

The Rotary Doctor Bank Foundation is a humanitarian, non-profit, non-governmental organisation run by the Rotarians in Sweden. Eric Dental Clinic, Mutomo, Kenya comes under the umbrella of the Doctor Bank and this presentation is based on information and pictures collected in Mutomo, Kenya by Chatarina Wangefjord, dental student from the Faculty of Odontology, Malmo University, Sweden, June 2004.

Aerial photo taken between Nairobi and Mutomo

Landing in Mutomo

The airstrip

View from the water dam in Mutomo

The primary concept behind the Doctor Bank is to provide medical aid to developing countries by transmitting skills and knowledge both directly through practical field work and indirectly through on-site training of local staff and health care education of the population. The Scandinavian Doctor Bank founded in 1990, is a part of the Erics Help which is a Swedish aid organization supported by many donators.

Each year some 150 doctors, specialists and dentists are sent from a pool of 500 volunteers. Dentists take turn in manning dental clinics in the area. The doctors and dentists from the Doctor Bank usually work for a period of 6 weeks or more, and after that a new team takes over. They work voluntarily without payment and receive only subsidies for travel, lodging and equipment. Besides helping people with healthcare, they also make a significant contribution to the education and training of local medical workers.

The hospital area

The front of the hospital

The road to Nairobi

The corridor outside the dental clinic

Project Outline

Children are a priority for this project and oral health education and prevention aimed at children is an important approach in trying to get a better dental status in the future generation. Every month the dentist and a nurse from the Eric Dental Clinic would visit schools in the Mutomo area for screening. The children that need dental care are referred to the Eric Dental Clinic for treatment and care. Usually about 25% of the children screened visit the Clinic.

They are mostly treated with fillings and the Doctor Bank pays for the treatment of these children. Here is an example of the kind of treatment that is carried out during a period of 6 weeks (in June 2004):

  • 466 children were screened
  • 461 adult and 240 children treated
  • 132 examinations
  • 132 fillings
  • 422 extractions
  • 16 scalings
  • 43 X-rayed
  • 1 endodontics
  • 1 treated for fracture of the jaw

Chatarina screening children

Schoolchildren waiting

Bye bye!!

Typical case; one tooth badly affected by caries, the others healthy


Not surprisingly, the main form of treatment performed at the dental clinic is extraction which reflects dental care trends in many developing countries. It is though easy to understand since the patients often are poor and have a long way to travel in order to get to the clinic. Due to these constraints the only treatment available when they do seek treatment is extraction. The people in the Mutomo area benefit from the dental health services provided by the Eric Dental Clinic, but the aim is to educate local people to run the clinic in the future. Lately some patients have started to come for examination of the teeth, even without pain, which is a very big step forward.

Nurse preparing the equipment

A boy coming for treatment after screening

We would like to thank Dr Ulf Delavaux (Dental Surgeon) and the staff at the Mutomo hospital for their contribution to this presentation.

* This project was performed by Chatarina Wangefjord as a Student Research Project at the Faculty of Odontology, Malmö University, Sweden under the guidance of Dr L. Widerström and Prof. D. Bratthall.