Saipan SDA Dental’s free clinic team goes to Tinian | News

LUSH green vegetation, pristine seawater and white beaches dotted with sparse swimmers and beach partygoers. Such scenery greeted the Saipan SDA Free Clinic team when the nine-seat plane touched down the airport in Tinian.

The flight was only 18 minutes from Saipan but the excitement of the group from the SDA Clinic is obvious.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and low providers, it took almost three years for the team to visit Tinian again. The yearly outreach program of Saipan SDA Clinic normally takes the group to other CNMI islands like Tinian and Rota every year. 

This year’s Tinian Outreach, which was conducted on Nov. 13, 2022, provided dental screening, prophylaxis and dental extraction to 27 patients. Forty individuals had also their glucose levels tested. Ninety oral kits that contain toothbrushes, dental floss, face masks and souvenir pens were given away. Vibrant Life magazines filled with valuable health information were also distributed.

There seems to be an apparent need for dental services in Tinian. In a survey conducted to patients after receiving their treatment, 29% responded that they would likely not seek care if there were no free clinic conducted that day.  Reasons cited include having no insurance (100%), cost (50%) and no available free clinic (50%). One patient expressed her appreciation with the longing that our team comes to the Island at least every six months.

Vince Sablan Jr., a new team member who was born and raised in Tinian, compares the free dental program to a grain of sand that tips the scale. He said, “Like one act of kindness that can certainly make a difference, the SDA free service can definitely tip the scale for the better good in the service to the community.”

The daylong program was a success because those who believe in our mission opened their doors as our venue. Our special thanks to Tinian Department of Community and Cultural Affairs for the use of the gym during the registration and health screening. We also appreciate the Tinian Health Dental Clinic for providing their space for the treatments.

The Tinian free community service was a collaborative effort with the sponsorship of the Adventist Churches in Tinian and Saipan and the participation of the Tinian Public Health Services and the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc. TPHS offered free flu shots while NMPASI provided information about their advocacy services for individuals with disabilities.

Also participating in the day’s event were the Seabees assigned to Tinian. As one patient commented, “Including the U.S. Navy Corpsmen is a great idea!” The free clinic was also a great way to honor veterans on a weekend with the help of our servicemembers.

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