Every summer, Barry Simmons -- a 35-year-old bachelor -- pack a supply of dental equipment and drugs, closes his lucrative dental practice in Athens, Georgia in the United States -- and sets out for some remote corner of the world to give his professional services and advice free to anyone who needs them.
GV PAN boy running along riverbank
LV Children receiving treatment at clinic
CU Small boy has mouth fixed
Sv Barry Simmons supervising treatment
SV Other children watching and waiting
Sv Simmons supervising drilling
CU Dental assistant
SV & CU Small boy having treatment (2 shots)
SV People watching
GV People and dental ambulance truck
SV Simmons handing out toothbrushes to children (2 shots)
CU Simmons demonstrating brushing and PULL BACK to children doing same
CU Children with brushes
Sv Simnons 700M INTO children brushing
Initials OS/1148 OS/1159
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Background: Every summer, Barry Simmons -- a 35-year-old bachelor -- pack a supply of dental equipment and drugs, closes his lucrative dental practice in Athens, Georgia in the United States -- and sets out for some remote corner of the world to give his professional services and advice free to anyone who needs them.
This year found him on the island of Bhola, in the Meghna River in southern Bangladesh. The region was one of the worst-affected areas in the 1970 cyclone and it has some 1,200 inhabitants -- most of whom haver never seen a dentist before.
Bhola is so remote that they journey there consists of a 14-hour voyage on an ancient paddle steamer (or twice as long by road if all the nine ferries are operating properly) followed by another three-and-a-half hours on a congested river launch and a bumpy journey along the island's only road -- a muddy track often impassable even to four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Simmon's yearly mission began in 1963 after he graduated from dental college and went to south America in pursuit of exotic birds, one of his hobbies. A priest at a jungle station asked him to attend to the toothaches of some of his parishioners -- and Simmons realised that the vast majority of the world's population never receive dental treatment of any kind.
Since then, the American dentist has spent two to three months a year in counties where the population-to-dentist ratio is high. In Bangladesh, it is two million to one. Simmons says he has treated 200-300 people a day during his visits to remote areas of Brazil, Kenya, tanzania, Thailand, Cambodia and Israel -- asking only for food and shelter and paying even the cost of transport and equipment himself.
Simmon's work consists mainly of pulling teeth -- but in each area he visits, he teaches at least two local people the rudiments of dental care. He concentrates on children because the teeth of most adults he sees are beyond care.
When he arrives in an area, Simmons says, he tries immediately to examine the teeth of all the children -- selecting the worst cases for instant treatment. Then, with the help of local leaders, he sets about cleaning the teeth of the others, giving advice -- and handing out toothbrushes for the future care of the children's teeth