GDR Clinics During COVID
January 13, 2021
As Global Dental Relief begins the process of reinstating dental clinics globally, I want to share with you the guidelines we will use for the foreseeable future to ensure the safety of our volunteers, trip leaders, and the children we serve.
At this time, we plan to operate clinics where there is immediate access to first world medical care. Those locations include:
While we are deeply committed to the children in Nepal, India and Kenya, due to the remote nature of GDR clinic locations, we do not foresee operating clinics in these countries in 2021. We are hopeful that we will be able to resume clinics in South Asia and Africa in 2022.
For clinics that will take place in 2021, below is a summary of the guidelines we will follow.
1.) Every volunteer and trip leader must have either 1.) The COVID-19 vaccine, or 2.) have documented COVID antibodies to participate in a GDR clinic. Volunteers will be required to show written documentation of one of the above in order to participate in a clinic. This guideline will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
2.) GDR will reduce the number of volunteers on each clinic to help ensure the safety of the children we treat.
3.) Sightseeing activities may be eliminated or reduced to mitigate possible risk. (see your current clinic itinerary for the daily detailed schedule).
For those of you who have already volunteered in a GDR clinic, you can plan for our clinic set-up to look different. Moving forward we will:
1.) Reduce the number of operatories in each clinic.
2.) Limit patient populations in the clinic to the same cohort or classroom.
3.) Patients will remain six feet apart at all times and there will be no congregating in groups outside the clinic.
4.) There will not be an intake dentist. All dental procedures for the patient will take place in the same chair with the same provider.
5.) There will be a list of approved dental procedures, to be determined and updated as necessary by the GDR Dental Committee (this list will be updated periodically and shared with volunteers before the clinic).
While I realize that some of the guidelines may feel onerous, please keep in mind that our goal is to be able to improve the health of children. In order to do that we must ensure that we are doing everything possible to mitigate any risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
In the United States, we can look forward to having a vaccine available to us this year, but that is not the case for many of the populations we serve. The children we treat in most cases will not have access to the COVID vaccine for years, if at all. The children GDR serves do not have the resources to receive medical care if they do fall sick.
Our goal has been, and remains to improve the lives of children in need. With that in mind we will do everything within our power to ensure their health and safety in our clinics.
We looking forward to seeing you somewhere in the world this year!
With gratitude for your commitment and partnership –