Skip to content

Oral Health Promotion for Refugees

On this page:


Refugee Oral Health Sector Capacity Building Project - Victorian Refugee Health Network & Dental Health Services Victoria

The Refugee Oral Health Sector Capacity Building Project utilises the identified oral health needs of refugees and asylum seekers who live in Victoria to strengthen the services provide to this group of people by Dental Health Services Victoria. This project prioritises refugee and asylum seeker oral health care through two policies (priority access group and fee exemption) that entitles refugees and asylum seekers to the next available appointment for general and denture care. A project advisory group consisting of resettlement services, health professionals, researchers and the involved departments is guiding the project.

This project has resulted in several activities including developing a model of care for working with refugees and asylum seekers, a series of factssheets to identify and work with this client group, and the development and evaluation of a target education program in refugee oral health.

Funding Body: Department of Health (Vic)

return to top

Oral Health Promotion Program for Older Migrant Adults

Aims or Brief Descriptions

Objectives: This study evaluated the impact of a community-based oral health promotion program on the use of oral health services, oral health knowledge, attitudes, and practices of older Greek and Italian adults attending community clubs and living in Melbourne, Australia.

Methods: The oral health promotion intervention consisted of three components: a series of oral health seminars, held at the clubs in the participants’ native languages, the provision of oral health care products, and the production of oral health information sheets. The intervention program was known as the Oral Health Information Seminars/Sheets (ORHIS). The content of each session was determined following suggestions and findings from the data collected.

A pre-test–post-test non-equivalent control group quasi-experimental design was chosen to evaluate the intervention. A total of 520 independent-living older adults, members of Greek or Italian social clubs participated in this evaluation.

Findings

Results: Participants who took part in the intervention responded with higher levels of achievement than those in the control groups. After controlling for baseline variables, experimental groups were significantly more likely than the control groups at post-test to have improved oral health attitudes, oral health knowledge, and self-assessed physical health status, as well as, self-reported oral hygiene practices and use of oral health services.

Discussion: The ORHIS approach was successful within the setting of social clubs, and highly acceptable to these communities. As such, it represents a helpful approach for the design of (oral) health interventions in older adults. Further research is required to test the long-tem impact including the economic evaluation of the ORHIS approach.

Involved Organisations

School of Health, The University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia; School of Dental Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Ministry of Health, Wellington, New Zealand

Contact Person for Further Information
Rodrigo Marino: CRC for Oral Health Science, University of Melbourne:
Ph: 9341 1558  or email:  rmarino@unimelb.edu.au

Publications from Study
Rodrigo Mariño, Hanny Calache, Clive Wright, Margot Schofield, Victor Minichiello (2004) “Oral health promotion programme for older migrant adults”
Gerodontology 21 (4) , 216–225

return to top

Promoting the Oral Health of Sudanese Refugees

Aims or Brief Descriptions

This project was designed to improve the oral health of Sudanese refugees within a Sudanese Australian Integrated learning Centre.  Due to the dramatic life changes congruous with being a refugee, their oral health has been compromised.  The program design and implementation was focused on a play which incorporated good oral health messages and was performed by the children for their community.  Key messages within the play were supported through discussion and written material supplied to tutors and parents.

Findings

The community development nature of this project has improved the capacity of community workers to promote oral health.  It has raised awareness within the community about oral health, and has provided ongoing resources for the sustainability of this project.

Involved Organisations

Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning Centre (SAIL)
Bachelor of Oral Health Science Student Research Report, University of Melbourne

Contact Person for Further Information
Dr Julie Satur
Senior Lecturer, Head Oral Health Therapy
School of Dental Science, The University of Melbourne
720 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 3000, Australia
Phone direct: 03 9341 1530
Email:  juliegs@unimelb.edu.au

return to top

Oral Health Beliefs and Practices Among Greek and Italian Older Australians: A Focus Group Approach

Aims or Brief Descriptions

Introduction: The oral health of older Australians is a major public health challenge in the twenty-first century.  However, little is known about the oral health status and needs of older migrants

Aims: This paper uses a qualitiative methodology to obtain a better understanding of the oral health meanings and experiences of Greek and Italian older migrants.

Findings

Results: Participants were aware of the major oral diseases and treatments available.  The data suggests that, although they knew of the need for periodic dental check-ups, there were barriers which interfered with seeking check-ups.  Participants also held a number of false beliefs, and strong negative attitudes towards dentistry.
Conclusions:  If programs are to increase the use of oral health services, specific barriers, myths, false beliefs and negative attitudes must be addressed.

Involved Organisations

School of Health, University of New England
Dental Health Services Victoria

Contact Person for Further Information
Rodrigo Marino
Senior Research Fellow
Cooperative Research Centre for Oral Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
PH: 9344 1580
Email: rmarino@unimelb.edu.au

Reports or Publications from Project (PDF files or Links or Library References)
Marino, Rodrigo; Minichiello, Victor; Wright, Clive and Schofield, Margot(2002) “J. Oral health beliefs and practices among Greek and Italian older Australians: a focus group approach [online]”. Australasian Journal on Ageing v.21, no.4, Dec 2002: 193-198. Availability: ISSN: 1440-6381.

return to top

Promoting Health Amongst Newly Arrived Refugee Children

Aims or Brief Descriptions

Refugee and newly arrived migrant children exhibit poorer oral health and general health than Australian children. This is commonly a result of previous traumatic experiences, language and communication barriers and low socio-econonmic backgrounds.  Additionally, transport problems, lack of knowledge, cultural beliefs and malnutrition may contribute to poor oral health.   Noble park English language School, located in Melbourne’s southern metropolitan region deals with a large number of newly arrived refugee children and adolescents aged from 5-18 years from over thirty different countries.

This project was designed to create an environment that supports oral health in these children by providing school based educational supports.  Implementation included a presentation to staff and provision of a teachers’ resource kits to support classroom activities and discussion with the canteen manger. Activities in each classroom included Colgate’s Dr Rabbit video, role play activities and education on the importance of healthy eating.  School staff and students responded positively to the activities.

Findings

Evaluation indicates that most teachers rated the lessons highly, while both children and staff indicated that more classroom time would have been useful.

Involved Organisations

Bachelor of Oral Health Science Student Research Project Report, The University of Melbourne
Mariam Botros,
Melissa Huynh,
Durka Jegatheesan

Contact Person for Further Information

Dr Julie Satur
Senior Lecturer, Head Oral Health Therapy
School of Dental Science, The University of Melbourne
720 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 3000, Australia
Phone direct: 03 9341 1530
Email:  juliegs@unimelb.edu.au

return to top

Oral Health Promotion Clearinghouse Unit
Address

ARCPOH
Adelaide Dental School 
Level 9, Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building 
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005 AUSTRALIA

Contact

T: +61 8 8313 3291 
Email