Chanku Waste Medical Project
A permanent Vision and Dental clinic primarily to serve the Oglala Lakota people group. We are striving to be a part of seeing the health and overall wellbeing of the people in our community improved. Through this medical project, our community will have access to resources that would look at meeting a direct physical need in their life while we are praying and speaking the truth of God’s love into their lives as well. Ultimately, giving our local church a greater platform and opportunity for evangelism and discipleship.
Why is this a need? Isn't there free health care on Indian reservations? Yes, there is. What we have found is dental and vision services are two basic physical needs that are many times overlooked and generally create a multitude of other obstacles. Not because of ill intentions but because most of the time, our dentist and optometrist are understaffed and lack the resources to meet the need at hand. We have two dentists on our reservation of over 40,000 people, spread out over 11,000 square miles. Many times, the answer is “just pull the tooth” rather than save the tooth by utilizing different dental procedures. Or so often, a child struggles for years in school only to find out they have a hard time seeing the work in front of them. They require vision assistance that is limited to one permanent facility that could be an hour or more away. Our people need help in these areas. Not to replace what is here but rather to come alongside the programs and healthcare already provided. These two physical needs are just more weight piled on top of a people that already endure great hardship in so many other areas of life.
We have begun construction on a 3520 square foot building. This will house three dental chairs as well as other equipment to take on many different dental procedures not limited to but including x-rays and cleanings. It will also have two different vision rooms to perform eye examinations. The waiting room is designed to be adaptable for use as a classroom for training as well as a conference/counseling room. The basement of the building will have two guest rooms to provide a place for volunteers to stay, including a kitchenette and a fitness room. Our goal is to have the building completed by September 2020. We are praying for God to bring the right doctors and staff beside us to run the operation one week out of the month throughout the year. Through meeting with some of our local dentists, we are in good hopes that we would be able to set our program up as a referral-based system. For example, if a community member were to be seen by a local dental office and the result was to pull one (or more) teeth, they could be referred to our facility to be seen for potential further options to restore rather than remove the teeth. After that, our part would be to make appointments based on what their need is and what our dentist could do for them in the week that we would have volunteers available. The vision aspect would be less complicated as eye exams generally do not require as much time as some dental procedures could. However, as unique vision situations arise beyond standard exams or glasses, we would love to be able to explore the potential of assisting with those needs as we hear of them as well. The Lord has given us some great partners over the years that have provided many of our supplies as well as furnishing all of our prescription glasses free of charge. We are believing He will continue to do so and much more! After the initial dental or vision work is completed, our hope is that as those receiving services would be open to it, more opportunities to follow up with them in other ways would be afforded.