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All about teeth-pulling

01 February 2013

OH, THE agonies of a bad tooth in a land without dentists: just to be able to have it extracted would be an enormous relief. So that is a skill that is being taught to two candidates - hand-picked by the Bishop of Nzara, in South Sudan, the Rt Revd Samuel Enosa Peni - by the joint efforts of a retired priest, and two dentists from i61 church in Llandudno Junction, St Asaph diocese.

The dentists are Ken Foxall (above, right), and his wife, Alison (far left), and they have been preceded in Sudan by the Revd Peter Marshall, who has gone out armed with dentistry textbooks. He is no dentist, but he is a teacher, and he has been teaching the two candidates the theory of dentistry, and laying the foundations for their practical training.

About ten days ago, Mrs Foxall went out with one of their practice nurses (above), Georgia Spencer-Williams, to spend two weeks training the candidates in tooth extraction while her husband continued to run their practice in North Wales.

Later this month, he will go with their other dental nurse, Donna Chatham, to continue the training for another two weeks, and will then set an exam. If the two students pass, they will become Clinical Officers, and will be responsible for emergency dental care in their locality. "We hope", Mrs Foxall says, "that, when we leave, there will be two local people who will be able to carry out extractions under local anaesthetic in a professional and safe manner. We also hope that people will be able to see God's hand in our work."

She and her husband were delighted, she says, that their two young nurses wanted to go with them. They would be responsible for sterilising the equipment, using donated pressure cookers, and keeping everything clean and hygienic. And they all hoped that the two nurses would be able to train nurses in Nzara to do the same essential work.


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