South America: Argentina, Paraguay & Peru
In October 2012, Dr. Dwayne Zobell along with Ronaldo Walker and Dr. Sergio Chehda (a local ophthalmologic surgeon) from Deseret International met with representatives from the Cordoba Municipal Health Department as a follow-up from the donation of dental equipment for 10 operatories (dental chairs, dry heat sterilizers, hand instruments and tray set ups) made possible for LDS Charities and discussed the possibility of future dental expeditions.
Dr. Zobell and Ronaldo also met with the dean of the dental school at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba to assess any future projects with them. Their desire is to have professional exchange focusing on topics focusing on current technologies and dental procedure updates.
In November 2014, Dr. Zobell and Ronaldo again met with the dean and various department heads at the dental school in Cordoba and were able to renew friendships and plan for a return trip in May 2015 with an invitation for them to attend to Open House for the Cordoba Argentina Temple and also have presentations on direct composite procedures, Endodontics, Periodontics, and Cone Beam radiography. Unfortunately, this trip had to be cancelled due to Dr. Zobell having open heart surgery and unable to travel. Dr. Zobell has now had a heart transplant (August 2018) and has been cleared to travel and plans to return in April 2020 and visit with the dental school and assess their interest in having the professional exchange again.
In November 2011, Dr. Zobell along with Gustavo Berta from the South America South Welfare Office in Argentina travelled to La Abundancia, Paraguay and spent 4 days providing dental care to the Nivaclete population in various communities using the local LDS Chapel. Portable equipment from Hampton Research was donated to Brother Berta and an air compressor was purchased locally for use in future expeditions.
A local self-taught dental colleague, Marcos Moreno, volunteered his time and services each day which was a great help with his fluency in their dialect and also Spanish. He is installing a dental operatory in his house nearby, and all excess materials were donated to him; an air compressor was purchased for him at the nearby Mennonite Cooperative and he provided a list of dental supplies that would allow him to provide care to the local population. The supplies were purchased for him at dental supply houses in Asuncion, delivered to the current mission president who was scheduled to travel to La Abundancia in the near future to deliver everything to Marcos so he could offer his services to the local members.
In November 2013, Dr. Zobell along with Ronaldo Walker, Denise Walker (Ronaldo’s daughter), Brother Romero from the Area Welfare Office in Argentina, and Dr. Norma from Asuncion, travelled to La Abundancia and provided dental care for 3 days to the Nivaclete population using the local LDS Chapel. Marcos Moreno again graciously offered him services which again were invaluable. The previously purchased equipment was used, and the excess dental supplies were donated to Marcos who had been able to provide ongoing care to the local people. Dr. Norma was also given a large tackle box with hand instruments and dental supplies for he to use and provide emergency services to patients in her office in Asuncion.
Dr. Zobell visited to dental school at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru in November 2014. He was able to renew friendships that had been established during previous expeditions from Academy members and met with Dr. Geraldo Ayala, and Dra. Liliana Teran from the leadership of the dental school. They expressed their gratitude to the Academy’s participation in their humanitarian efforts which has resulted in them being able to upgrade almost every clinic in their facility and add digital radiography, a central sterilization center, microscopes in their post-grad Endodontic department and, best of all, organize and provide dental care to the isolated populations they have been assigned by the government with expeditions twice each year.
Dr. Zobell is hoping to travel to Peru again this year and visit with the leadership at San Marcos and find out if they are wanting any help from the Academy with their future projects.
The South American South Area Presidency has made a request for a project to Paraguay to serve the Nivaclete Indigenous Members in La Abundancia, Paraguay. The dates for the trip was November 19-26, 2011. Also, a request for professional continuing education for dental professionals in the Winter of 2012 to Cordoba, Argentina has been requested.
Essentially, a small group of dental professionals would be presenting information on current topics selected by the dental professionals from Cordoba, and continue to build on the foundation that has been established by Deseret International and the Church in recent years. Some humanitarian outreach would also be possible in providing care in the clinics that the recently donated equipment has been installed. We are monitoring the progress of the Cordoba Argentina Temple and hopefully will be able to have a humanitarian dental expedition to Argentina when the temple open house and dedication take place in 2013.