Health & Hygiene Programs
The Dental Mission program was first organized in July 2002 and have since taken place twice or thrice every year. Dentists, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and other support personnel volunteers from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Iran, and the USA travel to the Philippines and work alongside local dentists to help treat school children and underprivileged population in depressed areas and small islands in and around the province of Cebu. To date, over 45,000 individuals with more than one tooth in need of remedy, who cannot afford or have never been treated by a dentist, have received free dental treatment sponsored by companies and individuals from all over the world.
Our fully functional Dental Clinic is equipped with a dental unit, x-ray, and other necessary devices, making it possible for volunteer dentists to perform simple treatments such as teeth cleaning (oral prophylaxis), and more complicated ones like tooth extraction and restorations. Located at the Rise Above Community Center in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, volunteer dentists can choose to work at the clinic for a day, a weekend, a week, or longer, and stay at the adjoining building where air-conditioned rooms are set-up above the Children’s Library as accommodations for volunteers and sponsors.
Ida, a Dental Mission volunteer from Denmark who also worked in the Dental Clinic before and after the Dental Mission, left a testimonial for everyone to read and hear about:
With a population of over 100 million that consume more high-sugar food and drinks than most countries and lack education on and finances to afford quality oral and dental health, the Philippines is in need of dentists and volunteers with similar background who are willing to provide their services in the Visayas region. Financial sponsors who wish to support the Dental Missions, which costs an average of 10 US$ per patient covering the materials, are also greatly appreciated. We at Rise Above have all the dental equipment and instruments needed, but we needto come and help us.
Toothbrushing & Handwashing Program
In rural areas in the Philippines, toothbrushing and handwashing is not a priority due to poverty, lack of water, or lack of health and hygiene education. Seeing mostly tartar-filled or decayed teeth and dirty fingernails among children treated during Dental and Medical Missions, we realized that something had to be done about this problem. In 2004, with the guidance of Dr. Bella Monse, a German dentist who devoted her energy to develop and implement a toothbrushing program in the Philippines, we initiated the program in elementary schools and kindergartens in Mandaue City and have since committed to do our part in helping the children learn proper hygiene routines essential for the prevention of health problems. At the moment, we have companies and individuals who sponsor the program for 25,000 children in 13 elementary schools. We now see its impact, and as a Danish dentist who helped us evaluate the program said, “The teeth of these children are as good as the teeth of Danish children!”
The Essential Health Care Program (EHCP) focuses on improving the health standard in Elementary Schools all over the Philippines and focuses on daily tooth-brushing after lunch, handwashing before eating and after using the bathroom, and bi-annual deworming. The Department of Health distributes deworming medication to the schools twice yearly, while Rise Above handles the oral and hand health and hygiene part of the program. We invite interns and volunteer dental hygienists, global nutritionists and the like, to visit elementary schools and educate children, parents, and teachers on proper toothbrushing and handwashing, as well as examine and document the children’s oral health status and provide findings and recommendations that will help improve the program. We also reach out to generous sponsors who wish to fund the annual supply of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hand soap, which costs 1 US$ per child. We need more people like YOU to work alongside our team and bring the program to more schools on the island of Cebu.
Small group and short-term Medical Missions are held at the Rise Above Community Center in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, whenever doctors volunteer to perform free health and medical services to residents in the nearby slum areas who cannot afford to have check-ups in clinics or even purchase basic medicine and treatment for illnesses such as cough, colds, fever, and body pains. Medical student organizations and interns also partner with Rise Above and conduct scheduled workshops on nutrition and diet, health and hygiene, or first aid.