Mission dentist honoured in UK
Simon and colleagues at Trinity Dental Clinic.
Long-term mission dentist Simon Stretton-Downes has been honoured with an Order of the British Empire award in the United Kingdom on the Queen’s birthday list, for his work in Liberia in ministering to patients and training new dentists from the country.
Simon and Grace are sent from St Gregory’s Church in Crakehall through SIM UK, and have worked in Liberia since 2017. Simon runs the Trinity Dental Clinic, while Grace works as a nurse at ELWA hospital. They have also previously served with their family in Ethiopia for nine years.
Simon works directly with patients both in the clinic and further afield in villages and smaller towns – there is a lack of trained dentists in the country – but has also been instrumental in bringing change and development to the dental ministry.
In 2019, the new building for Trinity Dental Clinic was completed on the ELWA hospital site. This has meant quicker interactions with surgeons and physicians when patients need to be referred for medical support.
Simon and Grace have also been setting up plans for a dental therapist training school to meet the needs of rural Liberia. This has involved discussions with the Liberian Ministry of Health to get appropriate permissions, and will be a significant investment. Currently, local staff members are sent to Nairobi dental school in Kenya to complete their professional training. The vision of the training school is to train and support the ministry of its students to work in regions where there is currently no dental care.
First published on the SIM UK website.