At the time Sir Albert Cook founded Mengo Hospital min 1897, dental treatment then consisted primarily of tooth extraction. This treatment was performed by the medical staff. A dental clinic was opened in the outpatient department in early 1980. It was staffed by one Dentist and one Chairside Assistant working with one Dental chair.
The Clinic steadily grew in terms of staff and equipment. By 1987, three Public Health Dental Officers (PHDA) had joined the Dental Surgeon and there were five Chairs in operation. Almost all the equipment being used then was secondhand, and had been provided by donors. In the same year (1987), Makerere University graduated its first lot of Dental Surgeons and Mengo Dental Clinic began receiving Dental Interns for training.
Dr. Brian Carr-Harris, a Canadian Dentist, on his first trip to Africa, happened to come to Mengo Hospital Dental clinic in 1999 as a visiting Dental Surgeon. Dr. Brian was impressed by the staff motivation to work, but devastated by the equipment they were using, which he described as being “fit for the museum.” He made a commitment to raise funds to get new equipment for the Dental clinic. Together with some friends, he formed a charity organization; Friends of Mengo Canada, which spearheaded the fundraising activities for new dental equipment. They received large contributions from Rotary International, Friends of Mengo UK; Friends of Mengo USA and provided funding for a new Dental building. We are grateful for the tremendous support we received from these friends.
Construction work for the new Dental Clinic started in 2001, and the Clinic was officially opened in March 2005. At the time of opening, the new clinic boasted of 8 Dental Chairs, plus 2 old Chairs were put into use to make a total of 10 surgeries. The new facility has seen an increase in both income and number of patients treated. Using income generated by the Clinic, two new Chairs and units were purchased to replace the old ones. The Clinic now boasts of ten fully opereational surgeries with modern, state of – the – art equipment, including Panoramic X-rays. This makes the Mengo Hospital Dental Clinic the biggest and perhaps the best in the country.
The Dental department currently offers a wide range of dental services, which should enable it to continue to attract clients and generate the needed revenue for its smooth operation. These wide range of dental services include
- Minor oral surgical procedures
- Restorative dentistry
- Orthodontic treatment
- Minor periodontal procedures.
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Dental laboratory services to in-patients and outpatients
- Dental X-ray services, including Panoramic and Cephalometric X-ray.
- Dental community outreach
- Dental implants treatment.