Janice Hearn providing dental assistance
A LISBURN dental assistant is travelling
hundreds of miles across Kenya to bring smiles to the faces of
Kenyan villagers living in remote communities.
Based at HMS Drake in Plymouth, Leadine Dental Surgery
Assistant (LDSA) Janice Hearn is currently with 16 Close Support
Medical Regiment, taking part in the Army's Exercise Sharp
Point, to provide essential immunisation, primary health care,
dental and veterinary care to villagers living in remote and
LDSA Hearne (27) is treating up to 40 people
a day whilst her Army colleagues administer vaccinations and
provide primary health care.
"I came into work one day and asked if I
wanted to join the Army on Exercise and I thought why not, what
a brilliant opportunity. I've always wanted to do aid work and I
am glad to have this opportunity.
"I assist the dentist and clean up after each
patient then discharge the clinical waste. I'm just like a
civilian dental assistant.
"They can clean their teeth at the front
using the twigs, but it's the posterior teeth that they find
hard to clean and they are the teeth that are decaying.
Obviously using a twig is not ideal, but that's all they know.
It's the most basic form of plaque removal I have ever seen.
"The majority of the patients haven't seen a
dentist in years; some have never seen a dentist and have been
in a great deal of pain for months. One lady's lower wisdom
tooth was causing her a lot of pain and after it was extracted
she was waving her hands in the air with thanks. That was one of
the most rewarding jobs we did."
Janice at work in Kenya
Some of the children who came to
Janice for dental treatment
Based in Plymouth, LDSA Hearne said her trip
to Kenya made her grateful for what she had back home. "The
villagers live in huts made of twigs and have to walk miles just
to collect water and wood for their fires. We have hot water on
tap, food on the table and showers.
"It's a beautiful country. The hardest part
is the travelling due to the road conditions, but the scenery
and wildlife make up for it. I've seen giraffes, zebras and
But its not all work. LDSA Hearne will spend
a few days relaxing before returning home to the UK. "I'm going
to have a go at white water rafting and spend a few days
On completion of the exercise the Squadron
will have visited 24 villages and treated over 5000 men, women