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Dental fair boosts refugee health

21 October 2016

Over 200 people received dental treatment in just one day at a special refugee dental fair hosted by Yeronga Oral Health Centre.

Patients had origins from 13 different countries, with people from Somalia, Myanmar and Iraq forming the largest groups.

All patients received a full dental examination, pain relief where necessary and advice on preventing oral health problems. 

The Tzu Chi Dental Fair on Sunday was an alliance between Metro South Health and a range of volunteer, community and health groups who support refugees. It was led by the Tzu Chi Foundation – a Buddhist group known for humanitarian work.

Metro South Oral Health Director Dr Helen Boocock said the event was a great success.

“The dental fair is a wonderful example of how Metro South Health is working together with other community organisations to improve the health of people from a refugee background and meet their often urgent health needs,” she said.

“Many of the patients treated on the day had never received dental treatment, or any previous treatment had been basic. The dental fair was an opportunity for us to address any existing oral health problems for patients and assist them to look after their teeth, gums and overall health in the future.

“The event also demonstrates Metro South Health’s commitment to reducing waiting lists for dental treatment in our region.”

During the fair, patients also attended education sessions on healthy food choices and understanding medications.

“The education element of the day was very well received – many patients commented that they aimed to brush their teeth more regularly and maintain a healthy diet,” added Dr Boocock.

“Thank you to all the volunteers, staff and organisations who helped plan and deliver such a worthwhile event.”

Other organisations involved were refugee settlement groups MDA (Multicultural Development Association) and Red Cross Australia, along with ACCESS Community Services, Mater Health and MSPHN (Metro South Primary Health Network).

Much of the dental treatment was provided by volunteer dentists. Students from the University of Queensland and Griffith University also volunteered as dental assistants.  In total, there were 290 volunteers involved, including staff from several Metro South Health teams:  Oral Health Services, Health Equity and Access Unit and the Refugee Service.

For more information about our oral health services, see

To learn more about the services we offer to the diverse communities in our region, see

Last updated 21 November 2016
Last reviewed 21 October 2016

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