Voluntary Director of Dental Services, Mission Medic-Air; and Dental Therapist, Mobile Dental Services
SDL-6 (2012)

Mr Elastus Chonde

Elastus Chonde (known as Chonde) was born in Zambia in 1968, 25th December. He was raised by his aunt as his parents both stayed in Zaire (now DR Congo). His aunt struggled financially, so much so that they sometimes went without food. He was educated at Mulundu Primary School and Kawambwa Secondary School in Luapula Province achieving his GCEs in 1986. In 1983 he was working part time at Mambilima Mission Hospital in order to help with his school fees and met Dr Andrew J. Patching. He helped him with translation, and out of that started to gain an interest in what he was doing. Dr Patching taught him how to differentiate the lower and upper quadrant, the names of the teeth, the roots and the nerves that supply the teeth. He then learnt how to give injections. He worked for Mambilima Mission hospital for nine years extracting teeth and then applied to Lusaka Dental School and was accepted. He trained for three years and obtained a Diploma in Dental Sciences. In 1998 he started working with Dr Patching using his mobile dental unit which he is still using now. He had a desire based on his Christian faith to reach rural areas with dental services so joined Mission Medic-Air as a volunteer. He started going out with them offering his dental services on outreaches to vulnerable rural areas. Mission Medic-Air is a registered non-profit making charity that relies solely on donations. There are no paid staff, only volunteers who are a mix of Zambian nationals, and expat Zambian residents. Through the work of Mission Medic-Air Chonde travels extensively to different provinces with a team of doctors and nurses and they hold clinics to attend to a variety of ailments ranging from malnutrition, anaemia and dental caries to eye problems. He often tends to many patients; up to 260 in a three-day outreach. They travel to five provinces reaching a variety of mission stations, and also reach out to nearby schools in order to meet the dental needs of vulnerable children. His work with Isubilo Community Resource Centre involves working within Ndola, Zambia with private patients, orphans and the vulnerable and prisoners. He also arranges outreach trips across the nation and conducts dental work during Christian conferences. His work with Isubilo Community Resource Centre terminates in July 2012 and he is looking for an opportunity to continue the work of reaching the vulnerable areas of Zambia with preventative dental education and treatment.