On the shore of the Ciénaga de Ayapel, bathed by the waters of the San Jorge River and 15 minutes by boat from the municipality that gives its name to this maze of swampy waters, is the village of El Cedro.
Dr. Alfonso Escobar Rojas, a dentist and one of the founders of the CES University, arrived at that place 10 years ago, who approached the community of 1,318 inhabitants, invited by a group of friends who made up CorpoAyapel, a non-profit organization created for the sustainable development of the areas surrounding the municipality of Ayapel, department of Córdoba.
“Some friends from CorpoAyapel told me that they had unused dental equipment and they wanted me, together with the CES University School of Dentistry, to advance some brigades to the place to use that material. I refused to do those brigades, because in dentistry very little can be done in a single visit, and I better proposed a comprehensive oral health program that would hold several meetings a year”Recalled Dr. Alfonso Escobar Rojas.
From that proposal, the El Cedro project was born, which focused on safeguarding the oral health of childhood and which in 10 years of operation has managed to intervene close to a thousand children in the area of all ages, with three annual visits with outstanding students. undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the Faculty of Dentistry.
“This project has been so successful that it became the standard bearer in social intervention of the Faculty. When we made our first visit we found that a child's first permanent tooth already had cavities within a year of appearance; with the progress of our visits we have managed to extend this period to seven years”Explained Dr. Escobar Rojas about the results of his intervention.
Due to the circumstances imposed by the pandemic, in 2020 it has not been possible to make any of the visits to El Cedro, a situation that the founder of the University recognizes as worrying due to the follow-up that should be done to the treatments of children . Even so, the doctor stressed that they are already preparing to return to their activities in 2021.
“The experience in El Cedro is unmatched, I believe that there is no other place where you can acquire so much knowledge and offer both to a community and in that area. My greatest learning from the visits I made was to give a human warmth to my profession and not just a practical skill.”, Highlighted Laura Gómez Gómez, a graduate of the Dentistry program who accompanied the meetings for four semesters.
Over time, the intervention of the School of Dentistry has encouraged other CES University programs to participate: Psychology, Physiotherapy, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, are some of those that have accompanied the process in recent years and are also waiting return with their services in 2021.