Maria hops on board to give Amazon hope

Maria Papavergos of Ferryburn Dental Care
Maria Papavergos of Ferryburn Dental Care
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A local dentist is set to travel to Peru to give treatment to indigenous tribes along the Amazon River.

Maria Papavergos, senior dentist at the Ferryburn Dental Practice in Queensferry, sets off next week for the country’s capital Lima as part of a medical team for the Scots charity The Vinne Trust.

Once in Lima, Maria will hop onto a small plane to take her into the jungle and the Amazon tributaries where she will meet the charity’s river boat, the Amazon Hope.She will spend two weeks giving dental healthcare to patients at various stop-off points along the river.

As well as dentist Maria, there will be a party of up to eight medical professionals – which will include GPs, optician, paediatricians and nurses – on board.

She said: “I had heard about the Amazon Hope and the work it does in the region and I thought it would be great to offer my help.

“I think the main dental practices I will be carrying out is filling and pain relief or extractions.

“It will be quite a culture shock in more ways than one, as I am used to dealing with people’s teeth on a daily basis but not people who have no access to toothbrushes or toothpaste.”

Maria added: “The one thing is that they will have less tooth decay as they have less suger in their diet.”

Maria, who has worked at the Queensferry practice for seven years, is self-funding the trip. She also plans to take with her toothbrushes and toothpaste for the locals.

* The Vine Trust was launched in Bo’ness in 1985 and its Amazon Hope Medical Programme provides a healthcare service for more than 100,000 patients annually in Peru.