In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 55

Dentist Michael Ramsay Young professionals at work Inside, Georgia’s partner, dentist Michael Ramsay, who was a Dunedin Rotaractor before moving to Gisborne last year to begin his career, was carrying out his own mission: examining the oral health of all 30 children, as well as staff, and treating those who needed it. “Michael was amazing,” David says. “You’ve got to think, 2015 he finished his training, so in his first year of practice to be going somewhere like Thailand and taking on all those kids he couldn’t even communicate with – it was just overwhelming to see how well he did.” Georgia says, as well as replacing supplies and conducting an audit of equipment and consumables, Michael, who is now a member of the Rotary Club of Gisborne, spent most of his time tending to the children. “He did a lot of extractions, fillings and cleans. It’s so difficult for these children to go and get dental or hospital care, so often it’s overlooked. “Michael did a little workshop at the end with the children to make sure they all know how important it is to brush their teeth.” The team also included paramedic and Dunedin NRG member Shannon Clarke, who made a significant contribution, too, Georgia says. basic questionnaire was also developed that they can now use to take down the important information for any new children.” Shannon also devised a health programme for the centre, including scheduling a doctor to come in on a regular basis to check the youngsters, dietary information and injury management advice. David says the medical expertise was invaluable. “Discrepancies were also picked up – like, seeing from their physical development, that the children were a different age than what was on their records. “Also, having the benefit of Asa helping with translation, a lot more was discovered about the children than what was documented.” After seeing both Michael and Shannon in action, David is keen to explore arranging for more New Zealand students and young professionals from health-related fields to volunteer in Thailand. “The ideal for us would be to build on what Michael’s done and offer graduating dental students at Otago the opportunity to go to places like the Rescue Mission for Children,” he says. “And, it’s much the same for the work Shannon did medically, we can build on that now, too.” “She used her skills to develop medical records for each child, so they can then be used by any other volunteer who goes to the centre. “Lots of the children were new to the Rescue Mission and didn’t have their details recorded, or some of the information was a bit outdated, so she went through and, with Asa translating, interviewed each child. A The health assessments also revealed more formal processes were needed, especially around new children arriving at the centre and ensuring they had medical examinations as soon as possible, as well as developing an immunisation programme. Paramedic Shannon Clarke “So there are all these things that fall under the overarching umbrella Page 55