Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation
Maari Ma Health is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation working to improving the health outcomes for communities in the far western region of New South Wales with a special focus on Aboriginal health. Based in Broken Hill it services several remote communities including Ivanhoe, Balranald, Menindee, Wilcannia, Wentworth and Tibooburra.
Maari Ma’s dental program employs a dental therapist, oral health therapist and a dental assistant, and provides comprehensive and preventive dental care to the children in Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Menindee and Ivanhoe. It does this by:
- providing a coordinated school based preventive dental program including annual screening, evidence based clinical care and school based toothbrushing
- working with preschools on preventive dental care
- delivering school based oral health promotion activities in coordination with local staff
- coordinating with corporate organisations to address the issues of high costs and availability of toothbrushes and toothpaste
- working with the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) to regularly collect oral health status data as part of program evaluation and planning
- coordinating a Fluoride varnish application program for the under 5s, in conjunction with the Primary Care GP clinic.
Through concerted efforts to work with the community to control dental disease in kids, and ensuring thorough and regular documentation of oral health conditions in collaboration with ARCPOH, results show that Maari Ma has been effective in controlling dental decay in school children. More information available here.
The organisation has no funds for adult dental services but works with other agencies like Filling the Gap to coordinate visits of volunteer and other dentists, to provide dental care to adults.
Since 2011 Maari Ma has been working with Nganampa Health Council and ARCPOH to investigate the effectiveness of Silver Fluoride on arresting dental decay in kids. Clinical trials are nearing completion (as of July 2015) and we look forward to seeing the results in the near future.