The Abayudaya are the Jews of Uganda; almost 1000 people live mainly in 5 small communities spread out over an area of about 50 square miles in the foothills of Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda, near the small city of Mbale. Their story of conversion to Judaism—and the experience of getting to know them—has been recounted by increasing numbers of Americans, especially students. It is a poor community, and many work as subsistence farmers. There is a coffee cooperative, Mirembe Kawomera (www.mirembekawomera.com), where Christians, Jews, and Muslims work together in peace.
Several dentists have visited over the years and provided care that was essentially limited to extractions. The supplies are limited, but the need is great. In a region of approximately 300,000 people, there is only 1 dentist. More recently, 2 premedical students conducted a brief survey of the youth to assess dental disease and found a high prevalence of caries.
Currently, a new health center is being built that will serve the needs of the people in the region, including Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This is a community that works together and shares to provide maximum benefit for all. To read more about the building of the health center, see this website.
The new health center will provide an opportunity for dentists to visit and provide care. With guidance from Alpha Omegans, preventive and restorative services should increasingly be included in the mix of care provided.
© 2010 The Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.