Red Cross days
In 2008, ADA NSW established a partnership with the Australian Red Cross to provide dental services for asylum seekers who have applied to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for refugee status.
On four Saturdays each year, generally in February, May, August and November, dentists who voluntarily donate their time and expertise treat patients in ADA NSW’s dental surgeries.
ADA staff, volunteer dentists and Red Cross staff work tirelessly to ensure patients are given the fundamental pain relief they need, including:
- scale and clean treatments
Patients are also given information on looking after their oral health.
Volunteer dentists provide the treatment.
The Red Cross provide the patients, interpreters and other services.
ADA staff set up the surgeries, sterilise equipment, deal with patient enquiries and records, show the dentists how to use the equipment and organise the catering.
ADA NSW staff take a well-deserved break during a Red Cross day. Photo: Di Robinson
Between 30 and 40 patients are treated on each day. They come from a wide range of countries including Turkey, Tonga, Somalia, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
Dentists find the Red Cross Days most rewarding. Feedback has included:
- It was a wonderful opportunity to help people who would otherwise be left wanting, and to present Australia and Australians in a positive light.
- It was a very productive day for myself and my patients: I learnt a lot and now I know how everything works, I will be even more efficient next time.
- I felt an immense sense of relief and satisfaction as I examined and treated every patient, relieving the discomfort and pain that some of them have had for several years.
- Being part of the Australian Red Cross Day at the ADA was an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience. The patients, who were in great need of treatment, were very grateful for our help on the day.
To volunteer for Red Cross Days or to find out more, email email@example.com.