ADA - Australian Dental Association Inc.

11/05/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/04/2018 20:32

ADA NSW offers pro bono treatment to asylum seekers from Nauru

5 November 2018

Following the Government's announcement that all asylum seeker children held in detention on Nauru will be relocated to Australia by the end of the year, the ADA's NSW branch is offering pro bono oral health assessments and dental treatment at its clinic at St Leonards, in Sydney's north, for these children and their families.

This work is the continuation of pro bono treatments carried out over the last decade through a partnership with the Australian Red Cross which aims to provide much-needed dental services for asylum seekers who have applied to the Department of Immigration for refugee status. In recent months, this has included three asylum seekers from Nauru.

While addressing the mental health needs of children and adults who have been held on Nauru is clearly a priority, reports by Human Rights Watch indicate that dental services on Nauru have largely been limited to tooth extraction.

'Asylum seekers can have significant and complex healthcare needs. Many find it difficult to access mainstream health services, including oral health care, due to a lack of familiarity with the system and how to navigate it as well as language and cultural barriers,' ADA NSW President Dr Neil Peppitt said.

'While some may be able to access public dental treatment, often their dental health problems become acute while waiting,' Dr Peppitt said. 'We can help alleviate pain, treat decay and disease, and improve the health and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.'

Thanks to the compassion and commitment of ADA NSW's volunteer dentists, and the organisation's commitment to increased equity in access to oral health care, almost 1000 asylum seekers have been provided with dental treatment worth $500,000 - including dentures, root canal fillings and complex restorative care.