Thailand - The Royal Mobile Dental Unit project

The Royal Mobile Dental Unit, Thailand.
Visiting the Surin Province, 18-21 Nov, 1996

Introduction: To my knowledge, this is the largest mobile dental project in the World. It is arranged each year by the staff of the Dental faculty of the Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, in the honor of His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The aim of the project is to give free dental services to people living in remote and rural areas with tremendous dental care needs. The activities are concentrated to one week, usually in November or December. 4-5 districts of a province is visited each year. With the following set of pictures from the Surin Province mission in 1996, we will try to illustrate the project in some detail. It is based on an impressive organization and the successful outcome is due to a dedicated staff, inspired by the Monarch.

Douglas Bratthall

The Table below shows the number of various treatments given in each district/day. In addition, health education activities are performed. Naturally, this contribution of additional dental care gives an immense support to the local health officers.

Activity District  
  Srikorapum Thatum Ratanaburi Prasat  
Examination 1683 1773 1775 2200 7431
Filling 199 251 264 345 1059
Extraction 719 538 620 1102 2979
Impaction 7 19 16 28 70
Scaling 513 548 474 545 2080

A series of pictures from the Surin Province mission 1996

The staff is transported by military busses to the chosen province. Local policecars run in the front to make sure quick and safe transportation.

Arriving to a district is a great event. Local authorities have arranged fine welcome ceremonies and speaches are exchanged. Dean Dr Jeerasak Nopakun, Dr Varaporn Buatongsri and Dr Porjai Rungsri seen on the picture. Dr Porjai is the Secretary of the Royal Mobile Dental project.

Chairman of Radiology Department, Dr Anonknart Bhakdinaronk, greeted by Jasminemarai!

Several local nurses and dental hygienists participate in the project. Dean of Prasarnmit Dental School (looking in the wrong direction)

Here, the Former Dean of the Dental faculty of Chulalongkorn university, Thanpuying Petchara Techakampuch discusses the project with a local leader during the welcome ceremony. Present Dean Dr Jeerasak Nopakun can also be seen in the picture.

Second person from left is former President of Dental Association of Thailand, Dr Thavalyarat Holasut, then Thanpuying Petchara Techakampuch and Dr Varaporn Buatongsri, President Dental Alumnii, Chulalongkorn.

Prof D. Bratthall and a representative of the Province.

Most equipment is brought to the area from Bangkok. The equipment is arranged and is ready the evening before the dental services start. Mobile dental chairs, instruments, pressurized air, sterilization, electricity......... everything is taken care of - and it works!

In addition, a poster exibition with health educational material is presented.

In a normal day, more than thousand patients are waiting - they have been informed about the project in advance. They are first seen by dentists who identify the main problem in each individual - pictures showing Dr Ratana Serinirach in action.

Most of the patients are referred to one or more of three stations: scaling, filling or surgery (extraction). Most extractions are due to untreated caries.

The clinical work is performed by doctors assisted by local health personnel and by schoolgirls acting as extra nurses. Changing patients takes practically "no" time.

Here the staff from Chulalongkorn has gathered for some joint photos.
For a more detailed information about Chulalongkorn University, click "here".

All photos by DB (exept the one where I appear myself)
Special acknowledgement to The Royal Physiographic Society in Lund for supporting DBs participation.