Fourth and final-year students doing their Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery have since March been conducting their practicing in the new state-of-the-art Dental Clinic at the Hage Geingob Campus.
The year module, Clinical Practice, is carried out by seeing actual patients, with real-life cases under supervision by dental specialists.
Doctor Frank Schwardmann, the Head of Department for Restorative, Dentistry, and Prosthodontics in the School of Dentistry said that this new development started since the middle of the first semester. “Practical education and treating patients are an essential part of dental training. So, here we are basically orientating the curriculum on international standards that require dentists in their training, during their studies, more than in other subjects, to really do patient treatments under our supervision.”
Seeing patients on campus
After acquiring the necessary and modern equipment, the School of Dentistry started offering dental services on campus. This is all in effort and compliance by the University in the fulfillment of the students’ dental training, and in a way, meeting its community outreach commitments.
Selected patients with certain cases get referred to the Dental Clinic from the local hospitals.
“Patients would go to the Katutura Hospital, as they normally would, and there they are pre-selected and sent over to Hage Geingob Campus for restorative, periodontal, or prosthodontic procedures,” said Dr Schwardmann.
The dentistry students have hugely been getting involved, as they confidently show up to the suites and meet up with their patients. In the process, learning customer care, professionalism, and hands-on experience.
Putting theory into practice
A final-year dentistry student, Olivia Shikongo, said: “It is quite nice finally putting the theories from class into practice. We’re getting a better understanding of what we have learned.”
Faustina Namatshana, also a final-year dentistry student, said: “The new developments have been a great experience so far. Now, we are working in our own space, with the latest equipment and materials which enable us to see more patients and be exposed to more variant real-life cases.”
Padelia Shihungileni, a UNAM Industrial Psychology graduate, and among the first patients that got treated at the Dental Clinic, said this service arrangement by the University is magnificent. “I went to a local hospital three times and I was never treated because the hospital does not work on an appointment basis and they only take 10 people per day. So, when I go there at 8 am, it is always too late for me,” Shihungileni said.
“I recently learned that the UNAM Dental Clinic was open, secured an appointment, and got treated in no time.”
“I think it is a win-win situation. The students get to do their needed practice, under specialist supervision I observed – and me, I got a quick appointment.”
Overall the service provided by the students is phenomenal, as Shihungileni stresses, “I came here on a Wednesday with a tooth decay, they did filling and then they told me to come back on Friday for cleaning. Everything was on point and efficient.”
In the meantime, patients are referred to the UNAM Dental Clinic only via the Katutura State Hospital.
* Original Story by: Suama Shingenge is a 3rd-year media student, doing her internship in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Veterinary Medicine.