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Priyasma Gauchan
Help support Priyasma's dental mission to remote Nepal village
22 March 2018

A junior dentist from our hospital is set to be part of the first ever dental mission to the remote Mustang region of Nepal.

Priyasma Gauchan will visit Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang - an eight-hour drive from the nearest town, Jomsom - which is another 14-18 hours drive from the capital city, Kathmandu. 

Priyasma will be travelling with UK-based charity called Smiles Across Nepal, to provide dental care and education for local people.

Hong Kong-born Priyasma’s father was a Gurkha Officer in the British Army and fought a long but ultimately successful battle to stay in the UK after he retired, the family settling in Colchester.

Priyasma lived in Nepal for two years as a child and has visited her parents’ homeland several times, visiting villagers and helping them with their dental care, but this will be her first structured charity mission.

To fund the latest visit, Priyasma has organised a charity gala dinner at Marks Tey Hotel in Colchester on Sunday, April 1.

The event includes a three-course meal and wine, a cultural Neapali themed show and performances, live Himalayan sand art, a raffle and a disco, and will run between 6.30pm and midnight.

Priyasma, who qualified as a dentist at the University of Liverpool, said: “Lots of people in Lo Manthang, and Mustang region need help with long-standing dental and oral pain and infections, conditions that are easily treatable in our side of the world.

“The villagers from inaccessible parts of Upper Mustang, may have to walk five or six days to reach the nearest health care centre and even then, they can’t really afford it. The same deadly off-road tracks can take a standard car or jeep a rocky eight-to ten hour drive to the nearest town.

“The villagers may not necessary value the importance of their teeth but poor dental care and lack of education affects their social and everyday life – the inability to eat and drink with the poor oral health and dysfunction can really deteriorate the general health of the child, a mother or an elderly who has no idea what is causing the problem at the first place. In some cases, dental abscess left untreated can be life-threatening.

“A lot of villagers we will meet, won’t even own a toothbrush. Some think brushing their teeth will wear the teeth, which we know is not the case.

“It’s about educating them, promoting healthier diets and changing their perceptions and some cultural beliefs about their oral health.”

Smiles Across Nepal (SAN) will work alongside staff from Dhulikhel Hospital. The charity has established strong links with Kathmandu University and Dhulikhel, a charity hospital close to Kathmandu.

“Part of this visit will involve carrying out academic teaching and specialist training to hospital staff and dental students there, so they can carry on practicing good dental care on a long term basis," Priyasma added.

“We provide funds to equip a full functioning dental unit in various outreach centres and have set up Oral Health Education course approved by the Northern Deanery (Post graduate Institute for Medicine & Dentistry), to allow local residents to help their disadvantaged communities.”

For tickets to the Gala Dinner, contact Priyasma on 0785 9887247 or email smilesacrossnepaluk@gmail.com

To donate to Priyasma’s mydonate page, please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/priyasmagauchan1