Lecturers and students from the University of Newcastle have volunteered their expertise to tend to the medical needs of orphans and children in West Timor.
For three years lecturers and students from the Oral Health program at the University of Newcastle Central Coast campus have travelled to Soe in West Timor to provide basic dental care and teach oral hygiene to isolated villagers in the district.
Oral Health lecturers Associate Professor Jane Taylor and Linda Wallace will be joined by three third year students to treat 22 orphans who live at the Project Lily Orphanage. They will also teach orphanage staff the basics of dental hygiene to help prevent the children having dental problems in the future.
The orphanage was established by Central Coast church Coastlife. The University’s trip to West Timor is part of an initiative organised by Coastlife and Mercy Indonesia to provide free health services for orphans and residents of the Soe district.
“The people living in the Soe district do not have regular or easy access to oral health care,” Associate Professor Taylor said.
“After hearing about the Project Lily orphanage and the efforts of the Coastlife church to improve the health of the orphans and people living in the Soe district, I offered to organise a team from the University to help.
“By taking part in the trip our students are exposed to situations they may never see as an oral health practitioner in Australia. This helps to expand their clinical knowledge and it is also a rewarding experience on a personal level.”
The Oral Health team will also treat and teach preventative dental hygiene to children in elementary schools in the area.
The University team will be joined by a dentist, dental nurses, general practitioners, nurses and a paramedic who will perform basic dental and medical procedures on refugees who live in areas surrounding the orphanage.
The volunteers will leave for the 10-day trip on Monday 11 July.
Picture and interview opportunity: Oral Health Lecturers and students and Karen Ingram from Coastlife church will be available for photograph and interview at the Colgate Oral Health Centre, University of Newcastle Central Coast campus, Chittaway Road Ourimbah at 10am on Friday 8 July 2011. For more information phone Media and PR Officer Leonie Brann on 02 4921 6856 or 0448 898 813.