12 Dec 2011

Award for oral health project targetting children

6:55 am on 12 December 2011

A project designed to improve the oral health of children, particularly Maori and Pacific Islanders, has won the Supreme Award at the inaugural Hawke's Bay Health Awards.

In 2008, Hawke's Bay District Health Board received $6 million from the Government as part of a national initiative to develop a new way of delivering dental care for children.

It set up the Oral Health Vision Implementation Team, made up of staff from the DHB, Maori health providers and the Ministry of Education.

Team leader Claire Caddie says since 2009, 51 old school-based dental clinics have been replaced by eight new community clinics and eight mobile ones.

She says in the past children went to see a dental nurse by themselves, but now parents are encouraged to be there too.

Ms Caddie says introducing a significantly different way of delivering oral health care for children has been risky, but so far children and their parents have been very supportive.