Africa (West): Ghana

Africa- Ghana (University of Ghana Dental School)

There currently are no humanitarian trips planned to Ghana.  However,  Elder John Bevan (retired dentist) and his wife are serving another mission there and could be excellent in country contacts.Elder Bevan has a respected relationship with the local dental school and dental community.  If you are interested in doing dental service either in Ghana or West Africa you can email Elder Bevan at BEVANJO@ldschurch.org

Overview of the past: Several successful dental expeditions have been performed at the University of Ghana Dental School by Academy members (including: periodontists, hygienists, general dentists, lab technicians, etc).  Most of the expeditions have focused on both didactic and clinical instruction at the school’s up-to-date clinic.In Ghana there is an enormous need for periodontal instruction (both surgical and non-surgical). 

Since 2005, the school’s main focus has been to start the country’s first dental hygiene program and supplement their periodontal program.  With the cooperation of the dean, local students and dental faculty, a dental hygiene curriculum has been developed and SLOWLY implemented.  Much of the instruction has been sporadic, with teaching expeditions once a year (average one month long).  The goal is to have local dental faculty teach the curriculum to the dental hygiene students, but this has been slow to happen and the school has instead relied on visiting instructors.

During the summer of 2008, five dental hygienists went to Ghana to teach for one month at the dental school and then in early fall, four Ghanaian dental hygiene students came to the U.S. where they attended dental hygiene courses and observed clinical procedures at UVU’s Dental Hygiene Program.  They also observed in many general dental and periodontal offices.Upon completion of their four-week intensive program here, it was hoped that the University of Ghana Dental School (UGDS) and Ghanaian Ministry of Education would recognize their accomplishments and let them sit for clinical exams (administered by an accrediting body out of Nigeria).  We are still waiting for this to happen.Once these four hygienists are recognized for their hard work and seen as health professionals it is hoped that they will serve at the dental school as clinical instructors for more dental hygiene students.

Future Projects:  Until the UGDS makes the necessary arrangements with the appropriate government agencies to recognize these dental hygiene students for their four years of education and clinical experience there are no teaching expeditions planned.  The dental school has appreciated the teaching expeditions performed in the past and will hopefully follow through with the necessary bureaucratic steps to ensure more visiting dentists and hygienists.

Contact Information: If you are interested in teaching at the University of Ghana Dental School (either to dental or dental hygiene students) in the future (for either one week, two or more) you can contact Kristen Mecham at mechamkr@uvu.edu.