A RETIRED dentist from Ringwood is preparing to travel to southeast Asia to help deliver care to one of the world’s least developed countries.

Dr David Daniels will set out in July for Timor-Leste, on a mission organised by the Landford-based oral health charity Dentaid.

The country is recovering from recent violence linked to attempts to gain independence from Indonesia.

Four out of ten people there live below the poverty line, and there is virtually no dental provision.

Timor Leste’s first trained dental therapists will graduate this year and Rotary International has paid for several DentaidBoxes – described as a complete dental surgery packed into in a wheelie bin – which are built by volunteers in Landford, to be sent out to them. They include instruments powered by solar panel, and can be used anywhere without the need for electricity.

Dr Daniels, 77, will be leaving wife Helena at home in early July to spend almost three weeks with a small team delivering vocational training to the therapists and setting up an oral health programme for children.

But he is hoping to have some spare time to pursue his interest in photography and wildlife.

“It’s a bit lawless over there,” he said, “and there’s not much infrastructure, but the Foreign Office don’t say ‘Don’t go’, they just tell you to be careful.”

Dr Daniels is a veteran of several previous expeditions with the Scientific Exploration Society, and has treated patients in the Amazon and Mongolia.