A special milestone for the Balibo community in East Timor has been achieved with the opening last week of the Balibo Dental Clinic by His Excellency Dr José Ramos-Horta.
Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) is proud to be part of the project by donating two dental chairs and staff who assisted in the coordination of the clinic opening.
DHSV CEO, Dr Deborah Cole, said the Balibo Dental Clinic, a project of the Balibo House Trust, will improve the oral health of the local population by providing access to dental treatment, community education and prevention programs.
“Incredibly, there are only five dentists in Timor-Leste, four of whom are located in Dili. There are 54 dental nurses, with around one dental nurse for every 20,000 people. Consequently, the population suffers from generally poor dental health,” said Dr Cole.
“Poor nutrition is a leading risk factor for poor oral health as the nutritional status of children and adults in Timor-Leste remains significantly below acceptable world standards. We are delighted that together with other organisations such as Rotary we could make a real difference in so many people’s lives.”
The program will be staffed by volunteer dentists from Australia.
The Balibo Dental Clinic which is located at the rear of Balibo Flag House, will initially aim to operate for approximately two weeks, four times a year.
As more volunteer dentists from Australia join the program, the clinic will operate more frequently, as well as provide a mobile service to more remote districts and communities. It is also envisaged that the program will deliver and operate a preventative program in the local schools.