Dr Stephen Cox OAM, head of Oral Surgery at the Faculty of Dentistry, overseas work in Nepal
5 March 2009
Volunteer Overseas work
Dr Stephen Cox OAM has spent 12 years in Nepal in a general hospital setting associated with the United Mission to Nepal. His main clinical focus in Nepal was management of facial trauma, correction of cleft lip and cleft palate and management of pre-cancerous conditions, in particular oral submucous fibrosis. Investigations into the mechanism and management of oral submucous fibrosis due to Areca (betel) nut chewing were also conducted by Stephen. The chewing of "betel" nut is a major risk factor for oral carcinomas in Nepal.
Stephen also developed a program to train the "barefoot doctors" of Nepal in dental clinical skills so that relief of pain, the control of oral infections and oral health screening was incorporated into the primary health care program. The program was implemented by the government and supported by WHO. When we asked him about his reflections from Nepal he said; "It was about empowering people to look after themselves and providing education with support".
Stephen is head of Oral Surgery at the Faculty of Dentistry.