January 07, 2022
Free dental care targets Wairoa whānau
Relief is in sight for whānau in Wairoa needing urgent dental care with a one-off, week-long event, Tō Waha, later this month.
The free dental service for people aged 18 and over will be held at the Wairoa Community Oral Health Clinic between Monday 17 and Saturday 22 January 2022.
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is working with the Wairoa Community Partnership Implementation Group, iwi, community leaders and other health providers to put on the event.
Today – Friday 7 January 2022 – is the last day to register your interest.
Participation is by appointment only which is being coordinated through local hauora providers Kahungunu Executive, Te Whare Maire o Tapuwae Trust and Queen St Practice.
Wairoa District Council deputy mayor Hine Flood – who is also deputy chair of the Wairoa Community Partnership Governance Group – paid tribute to the DHB and its Māori health team as well as the 28 dentists, hygienists and support staff who are voluntarily backing the kaupapa.
Flood says this is an opportunity for whānau with urgent and unmet dental disease, who otherwise cannot access or afford dental care, to be seen by a dentist. The town is currently without an adult dental service.
“Wairoa is at a crisis point with zero dental care services available to our community for some years now.
“So this is a collaborative effort to not only undertake this initiative but to ultimately look at an oral and dental care health model that is appropriate and has long term sustainability for our town.”
Hawke’s Bay DHB executive director of Māori health, Patrick Le Geyt, says the event addresses the immediate critical need for dental care.
“Tō Waha can only run thanks to dentists, dental hygienists and other health professionals volunteering their time,” says Le Geyt.
“The feedback from the dental community has been very positive showing a real willingness to be part of community events such as Tō Waha to help address unmet dental needs.
“Financially supported by the Royston Health Trust and Princess Alexandra Medical Trust, this initiative is really about supporting communities in need.”
Tō Waha shows that a Whānau Ora approach, as well as the involvement of communities and community-facing organisations in designing the way the service is delivered, is vital to success, says Le Geyt.
Other health professionals were supporting Tō Waha so health checks such as diabetes cervical smears can be done alongside dental care.
“Even if bookings are full and people are on a waiting list, they can come along and talk to someone about any other health concerns they may have.
“Hawke’s Bay DHB will continue to support the Wairoa community to develop options for a long-term sustainable solution for dental care.”
Anyone hoping to be seen for dental treatment during the Tō Waha week in Wairoa can contact Hine Flood through her Facebook page.
Source: Hawke’s Bay DHB Media Release and additional Waatea News reporting