The Columbus Day holiday weekend brought Saipan Seventh-day Adventist Dental Clinic’s “Clinic with a Heart” team to the island of Rota in the CNMI. The group, prepped with enthusiasm and a willingness to serve, flew out of Saipan on a morning charter flight on October 8th. The Rota Adventist Church, which also serves as a wellness center in Rota, was the venue for the free clinic conducted the following Sunday and Monday.
While the dates fell on a “Visita Rota” festival, a number of patients came to avail of the dental services offered: restorative/filling – 3, surgery/extraction – 50, comprehensive/limited exam – 59, radiograph/x-ray – 68, and oral health education – 43. Eighty oral health kits were also distributed. Total procedures could have cost the patients $22,000 but were provided for free.
Dr. Anna Lee, one of the dentists who joined the outreach for the first time, saw the value of doing free clinics in the islands. “Being part of the Saipan SDA Clinic mission team to Rota opened my eyes to the tremendous health and dental needs of the people living in the smaller islands of the CNMI. Some of the people we served are in real pain and had not been treated in years.” Dr. Lee wished the team could have done more for them and looks forward to the day when she can go back and share the healing gospel again. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work for an SDA Clinic that places missions at the core of its practice,” she added.
Being part of the Saipan SDA Clinic mission team to Rota opened my eyes to the tremendous health and dental needs of the people living in the smaller islands of the CNMI.
In a survey conducted during the outreach, 92.5% were very satisfied with the overall care received and 97.5% responded being very satisfied with the professionalism of the staff during their care at the free clinic. When asked where the subjects would likely go to seek dental care if there were no free clinic done that day, 37.5% responded they would go to a government clinic, 32.5% would seek private dental clinic, 22.5% would go to other free clinics, and 20% would not seek care at all. Of those who would not seek care, they cited the following reasons: having no insurance (60%), the cost (25%), and because no dental clinic was available (15%). There were 40 survey respondents.
One grateful patient commented, “I am so thankful for these free services you render to the people of Rota. If you did not come, I might fly to Saipan because the pain I have been experiencing was since June.” She added, “You are angels sent to us.” Another recipient remarked, “We love your services and hopefully you have dental clinic here in Rota.”
It is for these reasons that Saipan SDA Clinic will continue to conduct community outreach. We are more determined to fulfill our mission to provide excellent dental care, health education and programs in order to extend the healing ministry of Christ in the islands of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas.