Long-term mission dentist Simon Stretton-Downes has been honoured with an OBE in the Queen’s birthday list for his work in Liberia in ministering to patients and training new dentists from the country.
Dr Simon STRETTON-DOWNES, Lead Dental Surgeon, Trinity Dental Clinic, Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) Hospital, Liberia. For services to dentistry in Africa, particularly in LiberiaThe London Gazette, Friday 11 June 2021
Simon and Grace are sent from St Gregory’s Church in Crakehall through SIM UK, and have worked in Liberia since 2017. Simon runs the Trinity Dental Clinic, whilst Grace works as a nurse at ELWA Hospital. They have also previously served with their family in Ethiopia for nine years.
In a country where there is a serious lack of trained dentists, Simon works directly with patients, both in the clinic and further afield in villages and smaller towns, and has also been instrumental in bringing change and development to the dental ministry.
In 2019, the new building for Trinity Dental Clinic was completed on the ELWA Hospital site. This has meant quicker interactions with surgeons and physicians when patients need to be referred for medical support.
Simon and Grace have also launched plans for a dental therapist training school to meet the needs of rural Liberia. This has involved discussions with the Liberian Ministry of Health to get appropriate permissions, and will be a significant investment.
Currently, Trinity Dental staff are sent to Nairobi Dental School in Kenya to complete their professional training. The vision of the training school is to train and support the ministry of its students to work in regions where there is currently no dental care.
SIM UK Director, Steve Smith, says: “I am thrilled to be able to share that the SIM UK Board recently agreed that we should apply to the UK Charity Commission to enable the further release of an endowment designated for dental mission.
“We are continuing to work with Simon on the best use of these funds in Liberia and I’m excited by the local-led strategies that are subsequently emerging through this. We continue to pray for the encouragement of the SIM dental project and the whole Liberia team through these challenging times.
“This is a wonderful honour and Simon deserves his OBE for the amazing work he is doing in dentistry at ELWA.”