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ADA NSW and Aust Red Cross team up to provide dental relief

25 November, 2008

The NSW Branch of the Australian Dental Association (ADA NSW) and Australian Red Cross have launched a new scheme, providing free dental care for asylum seekers.

The team of dentists, dental assistants and an oral health therapist will treat the patients in  four dental surgeries attached to the Clinical Training Centre of ADA NSW in St Leonards.  
 
Up to 40 asylum seekers will receive an oral examination and a course of basic dental care.  
 
Dr Tony Burges, President of ADA NSW, said the scheme has been started to help this group as the vast majority of them would have very limited access to dental treatment.   

 “ADA NSW is pleased to be part of this program that provides an essential service to a group that in most cases really need it”, he said.  
 
“Many of these people would never have had any dental care or oral health information and could therefore have severe dental problems impacting on their overall general health.”  
 
Nicole Cunningham of the Australian Red Cross Refugee Services said the status of asylum seekers in Australia meant that there was little hope of this group getting access to dental  care in the foreseeable future.  
 
“Asylum seekers are people who have applied to the Australian Government for protection visas. Even though they live in Australia they have no permission to work, no forms of social security and no entitlement to Medicare.  
 
“They have no means of supporting themselves and are dependent on charities such as Red Cross for basics such as food and shelter. More expensive activities like dental care is out of reach for these people which means the oral health of many is in a state of crisis.”
 
Under the new scheme by ADA NSW and Red Cross, a team of dental professionals will volunteer their time four days per year.

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