During the month of May, Dr. Christopher Murphy and dental hygienist Michelle Mathews of Eastern Shore Dental Care in Chester, MD joined several other health care professionals from around the world through the organization Solutions pa Marovo, and traveled to the Solomon Islands. For this three week mission trip, Dr. Murphy and Michelle provided dental care for people in various villages and islands throughout the Solomon Islands.
An average day for Dr. Murphy and Michelle was very different from our daily lives here on the Eastern Shore. They’d start their morning traveling by boat anywhere from 30-90 minutes. As they’d boat in, they’d pass by many other people in boats that were on their way to visit them for care. Some of these people paddle for hours just to see them. Once they arrived, they would set-up as people waited in line. They’d set-up their work space outside in a covered area (to try and stay cool in the heat and humidity), find anything they could use for a chair and head rest, and start seeing patients. Only two of the days were they fortunate enough to work out of a medical building with actual dental chairs. After each patient, they’d put their instruments in a special solution and then boil them by fire to sterilize so they’d be ready to use on the next patient. People would wait in line all day at the chance to receive dental care from Dr. Murphy and Michelle. Once dusk arrived, they’d boat back to their room for dinner and sleep before getting up the next morning to do it all over again.
One of the most humbling parts of their experience was simply seeing how appreciative and happy these people were. “Kids would be playing with rocks, running around chasing each other, making flower crowns, or playing with a ball if they were luck,” said Michelle. “They were so happy with so little. It really put things in perspective.”
Solutions pa Marovo attempts to complete 2 medical tours per year to the Solomon Islands, but not every tour is equipped with a Dentist, so it had been several years since many people in the Solomon Islands had received any sort of dental care. Over the course of their 3-week tour last month, the entire team of doctors saw a total of 1,152 patients, and Dr. Murphy and Michelle extracted approximately 150-200 teeth.
Although many strides have been made in education and healthcare in the Solomon Islands, they are still in great need of assistance since their access to health and dental care is so limited. As a result, they heavily rely on organizations, such as Soultions pa Marovo, to receive the care they need.
To learn more about Solutions pa Marovo and their efforts, please visit their website at http://www.solutionspamarovo.org/. To speak with someone about making a donation to this is wonderful organization, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.