News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

NZDF Dental Outreach Revives Tuhoe Smiles

15 March 2018

NZDF Dental Outreach Revives Tuhoe Smiles

Residents of a small Bay of Plenty town credit the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) for helping reverse a generation of dental health neglect after about 550 adults were provided dental treatment as part of a two-week exercise.

Feedback from the patients has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Big mihi to the NZDF for helping our people. Now everyone is smiling again,” one patient said.

“They have done a lot to help our people. We came here anxious but are leaving happy and appreciative.”

A 25-member NZDF team provided fillings, extractions and other dental treatment at a temporary clinic in Taneatua, which has a population of 786 and is in the traditional boundaries of the Tuhoe iwi.

The outreach was conducted in partnership with the Tuhoe iwi and Bay of Plenty District Health Board as part of Exercise Wisdom Tooth, which ran from March 2-15.

A spokesperson for Tuhoe Te Urutau Matua said the NZDF’s dental outreach helped address “a build-up of dental care neglect”.

“In a few days, we have reversed a generation of non-care of dental health by our whanau,” he said.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Ross Heald, who led the team, said the community outreach to Tuhoe enabled NZDF personnel to practise delivering treatment in a field environment.

“It was a great opportunity to enhance our skills. Dental outreach is one of the things we do when we deploy to the Pacific as part of a humanitarian aid response,” Warrant Officer Heald said.

“We are pleased that we have been able to help the community in a tangible way. We know how poor oral health can impact on daily life, causing pain, difficulty in eating and even eroding a person’s confidence to smile.”

Warrant Officer Heald said the team included a bilingual speaker and worked closely with Tuhoe to ensure the customs of their community were respected.

The NZDF team also gave presentations on the importance of maintaining good oral health, a healthy diet and exercise to about 240 schoolchildren in seven primary schools in the region, Warrant Officer Heald said.

The contingent comprised a mix of Regular Force personnel and reservists, and included up to six dentists, four dental hygienists, eight dental assistants and a physical training instructor.

A similar programme was run by the NZDF in Kaitaia four years ago, and as part of its regular humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises in the Southwest Pacific.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Preview: Your Heart Looks Like A Vagina By Dominic Hoey

Dominic Hoey’s one-man show Your Heart Looks Like a Vagina, is a dark comedy about the joys of living with autoimmune disease. This one man show will bring together Dominic Hoey’s long career as a performance poet and writer and the experimental theatre experience of Director Nisha Madhan.. More>>

Let The Games Begin: PM Sends Best Wishes To Athletes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent her warm wishes to the New Zealand athletes preparing for the opening of the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast... More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review of Books: Martin Edmonds' The Expatriates

This book is an extension of, and tribute to, the life’s work of James McNeish. Without sacrificing any degree of authorial independence, the result is gracefully written, handsomely produced, and likely to propagate many further works of its kind. More>>

Max Rashbrooke Review: The King's Singers and Voices New Zealand

To be good at one thing is impressive; to be so versatile across a range of genres is truly exceptional. More>>

Joe Cederwall Review: WOMAD 2018 - Harmony of Difference (part 1)

A friend described WOMAD as his “favourite white middle class celebration of diversity.” There is certainly an echo of truth to this as the crowd is still largely white and middle class, but this WOMAD for me represented that a better world is possible ... More>>

Harmony of Difference (part 2)

Top international world music artists seldom make it down to this neck of the woods, so for those of us into this sort of thing WOMAD is certainly a welcome addition to the cultural calendar. Now it is a case of waiting and looking forward to seeing what they manage to conjure up for next year. More>>

Howard Davis Review: A Bigger Splash - Te Papa Celebrates Twenty Years

Considering the available resources, this is a decidedly hit-and-miss affair, mainly due to some highly questionable curatorial decisions. In their overweening wish to "push boundaries," Charlotte Davy and Megan Tamati-Quennell have made a number of serious miscalculations by ignoring a basic rule - keep it simple. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland