Mercy Ships Provides Vital Dental Training in Guinea

“Every once in a while, my grandpa — a schoolteacher — would get pliers and yank out someone’s aching tooth,” shared Dr. David Ugai, recounting his grandparents’ experience as missionaries in present-day Zimbabwe. “The funny thing is, my grandma never got gifts for being a nurse, but people would bring my grandfather a chicken for taking out someone’s tooth. It probably stuck with me…that that was an area I could make an impact in.”

Years after first hearing those stories, Dr. David, who had become a dentist, signed up to volunteer with Mercy Ships in Guinea. Like his grandparents, he wanted to use his skills to help people, but he had no idea just how great the need would be.

The Gamal Abdel Nasser University, in Conakry, Guinea, asked Mercy Ships to help provide clinical training to dental students. It turns out, this was a huge need.

What started out in 2018 as one-month clinical rotations with Mercy Ships, along with a renovation of the university’s dental school, has morphed into a full-fledged program where students receive supervised advanced clinical training on well-functioning equipment.