SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY IN TANZANIA AND NON PROFIT IN U.S. SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON ORAL HEALTHCARE PROJECT
Project will Upgrade Facilities at School of Dentistry in East African Dental School
Dar es Salaam, TANZANIA and New York, New York, USA, September 17, 2008 – The US-based non-profit Miracle Corners of the World (MCW) announced today that it will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) to collaborate on a project to improve oral healthcare across Tanzania. As part of the agreement, the MUHAS School of Dentistry will receive new state-of-the-art equipment in early 2009.
The agreement builds on a direct request from Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in January 2007 to equip the region’s only dental school, following a roundtable discussion on investment and trade at the NASDAQ Stock Market®. MCW organized the networking event in May 2006 with support from Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, Tanzania’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
Since then, Dr. Emil Kikwilu, Dean of the School of Dentistry, Dr. Marion Bergman, MCW Oral Healthcare Program Director and other stakeholders, have conducted a needs assessment, identified project partners, secured funds, and developed plans for equipment installation and personnel training.
“Each partner brings important experience and expertise to the agreement, which will accelerate the pace at which citizens across Tanzania, a country with only one doctor for every 140,000 citizens, receive highquality care,” said Dr. Bergman. “It addresses the inadequate access to oral healthcare and treatment in the underserved country, particularly in the rural areas where most Tanzanians live.”
At a meeting between Professor David Mwakyusa, Health and Social Welfare Minister, and an MCW planning delegation in the capital Dar es Salaam earlier this month, the Minister assured the organization of his support for the project. “It’s good news and close to my heart, especially since I was the former director of hospital services at Muhimbili Hospital.”
MCW, in cooperation with Midmark, Dental Components, Inc., (DCI), Henry Schein Cares and other corporate donors, will upgrade the school’s technical facilities, including but not limited to the dental operatory, custom-side cabinets, curing lights, a vacuum system, x-ray areas, sterilizers, compressors, hand pieces and dental instruments, as well as a laboratory. U.S.-based technicians will travel to Dar es Salaam to begin installation, including operational training, maintenance and equipment repair, in spring 2009.
“If we succeed in training students on a high-level, there will be a strong multiplier effect in terms of oral health,” said Professor Kisali Pallangyo, MUHAS Vice Chancellor. He also noted that President Kikwete is “passionate about the dental school.”
Valued at nearly $2 million USD, the donation of the equipment and technical expertise represents one of the largest donations to the school.
“None of this would have been possible without the vision, time and commitment of our key supporters, particularly John Spencer, CEO of DCI, who participated in our first on-site needs assessment visit in summer 2007, and Dr. Anne Eiting Klamar, CEO of Midmark, a long-time supporter of MCW,” said Dr. Bergman. “Both John and Anne visited the school with me earlier this month and are key strategists behind this MOU. Ambassador Daudi Mwakawago, an MCW advisor and board member, was also instrumental in helping us develop the dialogue on cooperation.”
The project will be managed and executed by a joint Tanzanian and US team, comprising various stakeholders appointed by MUHAS Dean Kikwilu and MCW Executive Director Eddie Bergman.
“This is an important part of helping build and upgrade Tanzania’s only School of Dentistry… a school that already has an excellent reputation in public health education,” said Dr. Kikwilu.
The MOU, accompanied by a signed letter of support from Health and Social Welfare Ministry, was signed earlier this week by Professor Kisali Pallangyo, MUHAS Vice Chancellor.
Established in Tanzania in 2001, MCW’s Oral Healthcare Program addresses the oral healthcare needs of communities through dental outreaches, model dental clinic development, and dental school enhancement.
In 2005, MCW built and equipped the Kipera Dental Clinic at the MCW community center site in rural Songea. As a result of an earlier MOU with the Songea Municipal Council, a government employed dental therapist was recently assigned to the Kipera Dental Clinic to provide year round service to the community.
“MCW not only launches new initiatives based on local needs assessments, but it also aims to strengthen existing institutions, particularly in areas where technical expertise is required like the MUHAS dental school,” said Mr. Bergman. “In both cases, it’s always been important to us to make sure that our projects are sustainable beyond our start-up support.”
About Miracle Corners of the World (MCW) Miracle Corners of the World (MCW), founded in 1999, is a US-based non-profit organization serving youth worldwide, primarily through leadership training, community development, and oral healthcare programs, as well as partner initiatives. MCW empowers youth to become positive agents of change, to improve their lives and contribute to their communities. To achieve its mission, MCW works closely with a global network of friends, volunteers and supporters from the public, private and non-profit sectors. For more information, visit www.miraclecorners.org.
About the School of Dentistry at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) The Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) was originally established as the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1963. It is the only public university for Health Sciences in Tanzania, and offers a range of programs in basic, clinical and allied health sciences, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Situated in Dar es Salaam, MUHAS aims to become a centre of excellence for training health professionals, quality research and public service with a state of the art University hospital, a conducive learning environment and a sustainable resource generation. For more information, see www.muhas.ac.tz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=35&Itemid=52