GULF Joins Forces with Faculty of Dentistry, Chulalongkorn University to Launch an Offsite Dental Unit Offering Free Dental Care under the New Normal Standard to Local Communities
The COVID-19pandemic has halted the dental treatment and services. With the overall situation in Thailand improved and under control, Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited or GULF has joined forces with the Faculty of Dentistry, Chulalongkorn University or Dent Chula to launch the ‘GULF Sparks Smiles’ campaign providing free dental treatment for people in the community facing, among other things, oral hygiene and dental problems resulting from the widespread disruptions caused by COVID-19. These offsite dental units cover basic dental treatments such as fillings, tooth extraction, scaling, fluoride coating, and x-rays, as well as more complex procedures like wisdom tooth removal. The units can accommodate approximately 100-130 patients per day. GULF has also provided 10 high power mobile suction devices for this dental units. This joint endeavor reflects GULF’s corporate social responsibility commitment under the concept of “Powering the Future, Empowering the People” with the aim of operating the business while improving the quality of life for people in society in a sustainable manner.
Mr. Sitamon Ratanavadi, on behalf of Mr. Sarath Ratanavadi, Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Following on from GULF’s program to distribute free meals to people in the community during the COVID-19 outbreak from April to May this year, the working team recognizes that there are still many people who face difficulties, especially those with low wages in the Bangkok metropolitan area. Therefore, GULF and Dent Chula have worked together on this pilot campaign to kick off this offsite dental units. We plan to run the campaign until the end of this year and might expand the program to other provinces as appropriate, focusing on communities located far from public health centers in order to provide free access to quality dental services and oral health awareness to low-income or disadvantaged groups. In addition, GULF employees have also joined as volunteers to help with registration and oral health knowledge sharing sessions.”
“Travelling to see a dentist is no easy matter for low-income patients as they have travel expenses and must often take time off work, causing them to lose additional income. Oral health is essential problems, especially cavities and periodontitis, and need to be addressed. If they are not diagnosed and treated promptly, they can magnify and have an impact on overall health in patients’ daily lives. We are pleased that GULF has recognized the importance of promoting good oral care to people through the provision of oral health education and free dental treatment. This program provides equal opportunity and access to high-quality dental health services for all sectors of the population. Additionally, the dentist team at the Faculty of Dentistry, Chulalongkorn University would like to thank GULF for providing the high-power mobile suction devices because the equipment can continue to be used for future treatments,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pornchai Jansisyanont, Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, Chulalongkorn University said.
Pradit Janthornfrom Baan Ban Chado Community expressed “I heard the news from community’s committee via an intercom announcement, so I submitted the request for a free dental treatment. Normally, I usually go to the dentist only if my teeth have problems or they are painful. After COVID-19 pandemic, I have not seen the dentist at all so today is the first dentist visit of the year, whereas my son who is currently in reception class got an opportunity to see the dentist for the first time. I am delighted that GULF and the dentist team delivered such a great project that takes care of people in the community.” Under the ‘new normal’ standard, the offsite dental unit has a screening point to measure body temperature, blood pressure, and pulse as well as take the history of patients at risk of COVID-19 in order to ensure the highest level of safety for everyone. Patients will receive queue cards, with seating in waiting areas arranged to maintain proper social distancing. Within the treatment area, preventive measures in dental health care settings established by the Thai Dental Council will also be strictly followed, with dentists and dental personnel donning protective equipment such as face shields, protective eyewear, medical masks, PPE suits and surgical gloves at all times during the dental procedures. Additionally, there are partitions between each patient and a strict cleaning regimen before and after every treatmentincluding oral sterilization with mouthwash before the treatment. Furthermore, extra oral suction will be used to reduce the diffusion of aerosols and prevent the spread of germs. Patients with severe symptoms will be referred to Chulalongkorn Hospital for subsequent appointments.