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AZ: CDMA Faculty, Students Provide Services, Technology to Tonga

November 17, 2015

by Office of Communications

Dr. Amanaki
Dr. Amanaki Huufiftaleletu Fakakovikaetau, Tonga’s Chief Dental Officer, engages CDMA students with facts and figures from his homeland during a presentation in September.

As part of an annual goodwill mission to the island nation of Tonga, the Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine-Arizona (CDMA) donated a much-needed state-of-the-art CEREC CAD/CAM milling machine that allows local dental practitioners to create crowns for patients for the first time.

CDMA faculty and students traveled to Tonga in November to provide clinical services and train the island's dental professionals in current techniques. According to 2013 statistics, Tonga offers 40 doctors per 100,000 people, but only 10 dentists. There are no dedicated dental training facilities in Tonga. To supplement their population's dental care, Tonga welcomes visiting groups of dentists and dental students from countries such as England, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States to help train local practitioners and provide clinical services.

Tonga is comprised of 172 islands, 36 of which are inhabited, in an area of 362,500 square miles in the Pacific Ocean. The last monarchy in the Pacific islands, Tonga became a democratically-elected government in 2010. Tonga's health services include four hospitals, 15 health centers, and smaller clinics on the outer islands.

At the end of September, Dr. Amanaki Huufiftaleletu Fakakovikaetau, Chief Dental Officer for Tonga, spent a week visiting and observing Midwestern University dental students and faculty in Glendale. The Australian-educated Dr. Amanaki capped his visit with a presentation that gave his audience a better understanding of Tonga's medical practices and challenges.

More Information

For more information, please contact:
Office of Communications
630.515.7333 (IL) or 623.572.3353 (AZ)