Published: 11:50, 24 March 2020
| Updated: 14:13, 31 March 2020
A dentist who has spent 40 years working hard to keep the smiles of his patients impeccable has been devoting his time to help refugees.
Dr Zahid Khan, who works at Wigmore Dental Practice in Gillingham, travelled to Greece to help people in desperate need get access to vital dental care.
At the end of February, the 64-year-old travelled to the Greek island of Lesbos to offer his services to the thousands of refugees who find themselves there after being displaced from their homes around the world including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dr Khan, who lives in Hartlip, spent one week volunteering with Health-Point Foundation who have a dental and medical clinic in the Moria Camp on the island.
He said: "The surgery is well set up and run. The camp is overrun; it was set up for 3,000 people but when I went, it was in excess of 20,000 people living in dire conditions.
"The surgery runs Monday to Friday and people start to queue up at 2am or 3am."
The facility works with a triage system and people are given a time slot to be seen. Refugees work there assisting with translation and helping others in the camp.
The charity sends two or three dentists at a time to the camp but the week Dr Khan was there, he was the only one there.
Health-Point Foundation have since had to suspend their operations in the area due to the constraints caused by the coronavirus outbreak and sending health professionals from overseas.
Dr Khan has previously been on three other voluntary trips. Last year, he went to Sierra Leone.
He said: "I got through quite a lot; I think I made a lot of difference.
"Unfortunately, the week I was there, there were some political troubles on the ground and tear gas was used to disperse the crowd.
"The children were as young as two-and-a-half years old and they had swollen faces from not being able to access dental care.
"It was a little bit distressing to see them in that situation. It wasn't quite like the other trips I have done because these people have been on the move.
"The charity runs on donations and people were enormously generous."
As well as providing his time to the clinic, Dr Khan also took much-needed equipment such as anaesthetic and needles with him and affirms he will return when the charity is back up and running.
Dr Khan is celebrating his 40th year at the Medway practice in Fairview Avenue.
He moved from Kenya to Gillingham with his family in 1964 and attended Arden Street Primary School in the town and the Rochester Math School, before going on to study dentistry in London.
The grandfather-of-two added: "I am still continuing to work; it's a bit like my home at the moment.
"Many of my patients have grown old with me and I am part of their families so it's nice to keep that contact with them."
More by this authorKatie May Nelson