Acclaimed Scottish dentist and Lubiju co-founder Biju Krishnan is helping treat a group of children from just outside the irradiated Chernobyl zone during a trip which aims to add two years to each child’s life.
The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (Edinburgh West) group have brought 25 children over from the Belarussian town of Mogilev for a month’s medical treatment, care and respite with Biju providing free examinations and treatments, worth thousands of pounds, for the children.
Biju said: “How can you not help these children? One of my staff, Annette Robinson, raised awareness of the trip to me and I said I would only be too happy to help. How could you refuse?
“Dental care is an essential part of the treatment for raising their quality of life, so we’ll be doing what we can to help – the vast majority of treatment will be checking decay and treating cavities. They’re not here for teeth to be straightened up or have other cosmetic work carried out.
“The children can have terrible teeth because of the conditions back home – their poor diets, the poor agriculture thanks to the radiation effects – and we have to try and counter that here, but the treatments are the same as any Scottish child with bad teeth.
“This is about doing what we can to ensure these children have healthy teeth and the confidence and other benefits that come from it.”
Biju, along with fellow dentist and friend, Lubino do Rego rose to prominence with the Scottish Dental Implant Centre, in their Drake Dental Practice in Edinburgh which is open to NHS patients.
Now they have opened Lubiju at Commercial Quay in Leith to concentrate on adopting and developing the most advanced techniques in cosmetic dentistry to Scotland’s ever-growing portfolio of private patients.
And it is these advanced techniques and knowledge which will be used on the children.
Biju’s staff have also rallied round the children, giving extra time to help them and buying gifts.
Biju added: “The receptionists and staff, Annette, Irena and Wilma, have all been incredible in helping this work. They’ve given up their time selflessly and I’ve been really touched by their efforts. They’re wonderful.”
Mogilev was one of the town’s worst hit by the nuclear reactor meltdown on April 26 1986 when 190 tons of highly radioactive waste material was thrown into the atmosphere.
Of the radiation that was released by Chernobyl, over 70% fell onto the population of Belarus resulting in 800,000 children in Belarus and 380,000 in the Ukraine being at a high risk of contracting cancer or leukaemia.
The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children is a global group which brings as many children as possible to other towns for medical treatment, but also for a break from the harsh reality of their lives, where the average lifespan is 30.
However studies have shown that for every month spent out of the area, lifespans are extended by two years.
At the time of the incident, children in the Chernobyl area received a dose of radiation 40 times above permissible levels. The number of incidences of thyroid cancer is up 3000 per cent and it is estimated that over the next 15-20 years over 40,000 children in Belarus will contract the disease.
In Belarus cancer of the thyroid is so prevalent that the scar left after a thyroid operation is now chillingly referred to as a Belarussian Necklace, thus marking them forever as Chernobyl’s victims.
Local organizer for Friends of Chernobyl’s Children Heidi Grant said: “We can’t thank Biju enough for getting involved.
“The children do have fun while here, but the emphasis is very much on helping treat them, helping their health pick up and giving their immune system a chance to recharge.”
The children are here until the end of June.
Source: Alaska Dental Associates