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Home page » Dentists Australia » Victoria Dentists » Dentist in Victoria | Dental infection control

Dentist in Victoria | Dental infection control

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10 A'Beckett Street,
Victoria, Australia
Zip code: 8006

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Project aims to help Tongans help themselves in dental infection control

Dental health workers and educators in the Pacific Islands can now learn about techniques in basic infection control in Tonga, thanks to a training video developed by a team from RMIT University and the Rotary Club of Ballarat West.

Designed for use by staff in the Vaiola Dental Clinic in Tonga's capital city of Nuku Alofa, the video provides clear, simple and easy-to-implement instructions to help hospital staff control the spread of infectious diseases.

The training video is the result of a visit by a team of dentists to the hospital in 1997, who discovered that educating staff on the importance of hygiene procedures, like correct sterilisation, became difficult for two reasons.

First, the majority of Tongans do not speak fluent English, which makes relating information about infection control difficult and confusing.

Second, the accepted world standards in dental hygiene are not really feasible in Tonga because the Vaiola Dental Clinic receives donated equipment that often needs to satisfy a hygiene practice and patient procedure code that is not available.

To educate staff on hygiene procedures in the Tongan dental health system, the training video was produced in two versions: an English language version; and one with voiceovers in the native Tongan language.

Eight aid workers were involved in the project. Team leader Dr David Goldsmith, from the Rotary Club of Ballarat West, was assisted by dental nurse Ms Annette Harrison and two Ballarat dentists, Dr Scott Sherwell and Dr Ekke Martini. Mr Chris Kettle was in charge of maintaining the dental equipment.

The video was scripted and directed by Mr Rod McLean, a dental infection control expert from RMIT University's Faculty of Biomedical and Health Sciences and Nursing. The training video was filmed over two weeks in Tonga in September 1998 by Ms Kara Burns, an RMIT University scientific photography student. It was finally edited at RMIT University by Mr Iain McKay from the university's Education Improvement Program Group.

"The Tongan Infection Control training program is an excellent example of RMIT University's commitment to community service locally and internationally," said RMIT University Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical and Health Sciences and Nursing, Professor David Story.

"RMIT University's Department of Health & Clinical Sciences has been working in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Ballarat West, to provide urgently needed training for dental and hospital staff in Tongan infection control. Such training is critically important for the entire Tongan community."

Dr Goldsmith said he believed this is the first time a training video where an infection control video for a Third World country has been shot in the country, with a program tailored specifically for its local conditions, and, in its native language, using local staff and facilities.

He said the video, although primarily aimed at the staff of Vaiola Hospital, has been well received by all the health authorities who have viewed it.

"Although intended for Tonga, the video could be used anywhere in Pacific Island or similar nations. Copies of the video have already been taken to Papua New Guinea by visiting dental therapists to RMIT University," Dr Goldsmith said.

Dr Goldsmith added that the video project is part of a continuing effort by Rotary International to improve the condition of Tongan teeth.

A party of aid workers from RMIT University and the Rotary Club of Ballarat West flies to the Kingdom of Tonga each year to address the issues in the Tonga health system.

RMIT University and the Rotary Club of Ballarat West has been involved in the Rotary Club-Tonga Dental Health Project for three years.

"The ongoing project is aimed at assisting dental and hospital staff in Tonga to improve health facilities and standards of care," said Dr Goldsmith.

"The assistance is done through continuous support and education by annual visits of multidisciplinary groups of volunteer health professionals."

For more information about the Rotary Club-Tonga Dental Health Project: Dr David Goldsmith, Rotary Club of Ballarat West (03) 5331 2755; OR Mr Rod McLean, RMIT University (03) 9925 4287.

Media inquiries: Andrew Yee, Corporate Affairs Group, RMIT University (03) 9925 3176 OR (Mobile) 0417 592 398

Tags: dental in Kingdom of Tonga, Dental infection control, tonga dentistry
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