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Pro Homine has been sponsoring a dental aid programme in Uganda and Ethiopia for 20 years.
Since the mid-1980ies Dr. Peter Huemer and his wife Lydia had been supporting many godchildren living in orphanages in Ethiopia and Uganda. When he visited these children in 1992, he realized the urgent need for dental aid in these countries. This experience gave Dr. Huemer and his wife the vision of initiating a humanitarian project they named ‘Pro Homine’ (which means 'For Mankind').
In 1993 the state-run Dental School in Kampala was about to be closed down. With the help of Austrodent Inc. – in particular their local manager G. Saxer – and the federal government of Vorarlberg Pro Homine was able to rescue the school in the nick of time. With their 26 dental chairs repaired and the hygiene protocol brought up-to-date, the school revitalized its dental training programme as well as its service to the community and was even able to find new sponsors, thus providing a better outlook for its future.
Pro Homine has sponsored a 3-year diploma course for 12 students at the Dental School in Kampala; today all of them work in a dental practice funded by Pro Homine. In co-operation with partner organisations, Pro Homine also supports a new middle school in Mityana, Uganda.
For many years Dr. Karl Immler and Dr. Peter Huemer have been running intensive training courses for Ugandan and Ethiopian dentists both in Africa und Austria. Their hands-on teaching sessions covering dental hygiene, composite filling techniques and practical intensive courses on endodontics (root canal treatment) and prosthetics (dental crowns and bridgework) have stimulated a keen interest in state-of-the-art techniques among African dentists. Above all, courses on oral surgery are in great demand.
In the meantime, the dentists trained by Pro Homine are able to run their dental practices independently and, in addition, to support their families financially. Currently, more than 100 people directly benefit from these dentists, who pay their school or study fees, their medical bills and support their aging parents or other needy family members.
From the outset, our guiding principle for all Pro Homine activities has been that humanitarian aid must go beyond donations that just support individual beneficiaries. It has been our goal that dentists trained by Pro Homine should be empowered to serve their communities in many ways that go beyond delivering the best dental care possible in the regional setting.
In 2011/2012, Pro Homine opened a modern dental centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which apart from offering dental treatment to patients will also provide training for dental hygienists, laboratory technicians and dentists on a postgraduate level in the near future.
Dr. Peter Huemer started this project with great enthusiasm and, over the years, has invested even more in time and private funds. Therefore, he is very grateful for all donations.
We can assure those supporting this dental aid project that 100 per cent of all donations are spent on promoting dental care in Africa.
Dr. Peter Huemer