A teething problem

Terry Roberts
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Local dentists doing their part for Haiti

A dentist who works in Conception Bay South says a recent visit to the devastated country of Haiti opened her eyes to the strength of the people in the impoverished Caribbean country, and revealed a need she hopes her colleagues in this province can fill.

"I felt really comfortable walking in the street. I realized the people of Haiti are much more genteel and gracious than I expected," Dr. Linda Goodyear said recently.

Conception Bay South dentist Dr. Linda Goodyear performs an oral examination on a child at an orphanage in Haiti. - Submitted photo

A dentist who works in Conception Bay South says a recent visit to the devastated country of Haiti opened her eyes to the strength of the people in the impoverished Caribbean country, and revealed a need she hopes her colleagues in this province can fill.

"I felt really comfortable walking in the street. I realized the people of Haiti are much more genteel and gracious than I expected," Dr. Linda Goodyear said recently.

For the past decade, Goodyear has operated a dental clinic in Chamberlains. She travelled to Haiti earlier this month to do an assessment of the situation for the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association.

The association wants to contribute to the country's recovery following January's earthquake, and wants to make sure its efforts are pointed in the right direction.

"We want to make sure we are putting our money and efforts to good use," Goodyear explained.

The association has formed an ad hoc committee, and will meet Monday to hear from Goodyear and discuss its response.

Goodyear believes there's an opportunity to provide equipment and money to establish a dental clinic in the country's capital, Port au Prince, and she's calling on dentists in the province and across Canada to chip in.

During her visit, Goodyear met with the administrator of a hospital in Port au Prince.

The administrator explained that just days before the earthquake, a decision had been made to establish a dental clinic at the hospital. The dentist who was to run the clinic, she added, lost two sons in the disaster.

Goodyear will recommend the association direct its efforts at fulfilling that plan.

"We haven't completely decided, but we certainly have found a specific need and I hope we will attempt to supply that need," she said.

Goodyear said the visit had a profound impact on her, and she plans to return to Haiti in the future. While there are dentists in Haiti, along with a dental school, she said there may be opportunities for other dentists to lend their expertise.

"People can contribute money for equipment, or equipment, and ultimately maybe even some help doing dentistry," Goodyear said.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association

Geographic location: Haiti, Caribbean, Chamberlains Canada

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