Charity Founders For Dental AGM

  Two New Zealand-based dentists who have been performing charitable work in Fiji for underprivileged communities since 2012 will be part of this weekend’s Fiji Dental Association annual general meeting
02 Aug 2018 10:00
Charity Founders For Dental AGM
Dr Jonathan Cole


Two New Zealand-based dentists who have been performing charitable work in Fiji for underprivileged communities since 2012 will be part of this weekend’s Fiji Dental Association annual general meeting in Nadi.

In 2012 Dr Jonathan Cole and Dr Mahendra Moopnar formed a non-governmental organisation called Smiles for the Pacific (SFTP).

Since the inception, the SFTP has attracted a significant number of world-class volunteer dental specialists, dentists, bio-medical technicians and other dental health professionals, mainly from New Zealand and some from Australia.

This programme aims to deliver services for free to treat underprivileged patients and provide training programmes for dental health professionals in Fiji and the South Pacific.

So far SFTP has undertaken over 200 programmes for treating patients and teaching and training dental health professionals through SFTP/TTC, Lautoka Dental Clinic and Fiji.

In April 2017 Dr Cole of  SFTP Chair was invited by ICD (International College of Dentist) in Melbourne to present a talk in SFTP assistance to Cyclone Winston battered Fiji.

SFTP has been generally supported by ICD for its humane cause in the South Pacific.

Dr M Moopnar said SFTP had so far delivered far more than expected of SFTP mission in the South Pacific.

Furthermore SFTP has

provided assistance to:

  • Ministry Of Health (Fiji) Dental Clinics in Suva and Lautoka. Treating complex cases by local specialists;
  •  Fiji National University teaching staff and students on a regular basis;
  • Providing speakers for Fiji Dental Association on a regular basis;
  • Providing speakers for Fiji Oral Health Workers Association on a regular basis;
  •  2016 SFTP had sponsored Mike Williams (Max Facial Technician) to help with 2 weeks training and setup of Max Facial Prosthesis and prosthetic eye unit for FNU/MOH Fiji;
  • After Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston and the widespread devastation it caused in Fiji (including damages to outlying dental clinics), SFTP sent a container load comprising dental equipment, consumables and other humanitarian needs (clothing, 1000 toys, cutlery, shoes, books and a whole lot of other items) which were distributed to the entire country through the SFTP/MOH Fiji networking;
  •  In 2017, $40,000 of local anesthetic was supplied by SFTP to MOH Fiji who were desperately short of this item;
  • In May 2017 a container load of recycled dental equipment (dental chairs, X-rays, compressors, auto-claves, a Cad-cam unit and a nitro oxide unit) was donated to MOH Fiji. A Cad-cam unit was donated to Fiji National University for student training;
  • In July 2017 SFTP paid return airfares to Fiji for Malcolm Hartstone (Service Technician) to installsome of the equipment. Mr Hartstone installed dental chairs and X-ray units at Lautoka, Ba and Rakiraki dental clinics, replacing some of the obsolete or out of action dental equipment. At the same time he also conducted in house training for a number of laboratory dental technicians on equipment maintenance. The effort was much appreciated by all the recipients.
  • SFTP supplied consumables and dental instruments to other volunteers that went to Nepal, Vanuatu, and Western Samoa and also to volunteers from Mercy ship group that had visited the isolated areas of Fiji.
  • Recently Dr Cole and Australian partner Dr S Chandra organised a shipment of five dental chairs and other items to Fiji for the remote dental clinics in Savusavu, Saqasaqa, Dreketi on the island of Vanua Levu, which is awaiting the SFTP Kiwi volunteer service dental technician to install this equipment.

In addition, SFTP assisted visiting dental health professionals from South Pacific to New Zealand either with accommodation, transport and food or set up training programmes.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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