Northampton dentist fund-raising for new dental equipment for poverty-stricken Ghanaian village

Dr Neil Martin
Dr Neil Martin

A Northampton dentist who travelled to Ghana with NGH staff to treat patients is raising funds to buy new instruments before his return to Africa later this year.

Neil Martin, a special care dentist at St James Clinic, said his two-week trip in 2017 impacted on him so much that he wants to return to Carpenter, Ghana on a voluntary basis.

After finding out the news that he had gained a place for the 2018 London Marathon, 60-year-old Neil has now begun raising money for new equipment for his upcoming trip.

"The poverty in north Ghana is really quite staggering," said Neil, who was born in Grimsby.

"The thing that brought it back to me was that nine people died in October in that area, the month before we arrived.

"In this country, people only occasionally die of a dental infection but out there they are so short of manpower and equipment."

During his time in Ghana in 2017, Neil saw more than 100 patients, extracted over 130 teeth, and referred four patients with facial tumours.

He was part of a multi-national team of British and Canadian health professionals which visit Carpenter every November.

"The only access to dentistry the local people have currently is when the healthcare team visits in November for two weeks," wrote Neil on his JustGiving page.

"Many of the patients we saw in 2017 had severe dental infections, some even being life-threatening."

Just before the 2017 Ghana trip, Neil received the news that he had secured a Rugby and Northampton athletic club ballot place at the London Marathon.

"Many people approached me to say they would make a charitable donation when they heard I had a marathon entry, so the obvious choice was to raise some funds to buy some new dental instruments to take to Ghana in 2018."

One thing that struck Neil while in Carpenter was the generosity of Northampton people.

"There's the old saying 'the less people have, the more giving they are'."