Cooloola Christian College (CCC) students from Queensland in Australia will include an oral health education program in their visit to Solomon Islands schools in September.As part of the school's biannual visit, students will provide important education about dental care and oral hygiene to students and parents of the schools they visit.
Channon and Lawrence Dental Centre has partnered with the school by providing the young ministry team with training and teaching resources, along with hundreds of dental care packs to hand out to students.
This trip will give students an opportunity to apply their Christian faith in an exciting, challenging and worthwhile ministry, by providing practical support that will help make positive changes in the lives of villagers in remote areas of the Western Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands has one of the highest malaria rates in the world but almost non-existent government funding for remote health care, as well as increasing incidents of HIV and hepatitis.
Ministry trip team leader, Ross Waltisbuhl said the team was aware that, with increased access to processed, sugar-rich foods in the Solomons, there were emerging health issues including an explosion in the number of type 2 diabetes cases as well as dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay.
"Many health care programs have been targeting the big health issues with education and preventative programs for many years, but we are not aware of anyone targeting the issue of oral hygiene," he said.
"Thanks to Channon and Lawrence Dental Centre, our student team will include an oral education program during their visits with schools.
"Armed with posters, toothpaste, tooth brushes as well as dental floss, and information about healthy diets - we believe we can make a difference."
The school is no stranger to the Solomon Islands, as the brief background below reveals.
In September 2006, CCC sent its first team of students and three leaders to the Western Province of the Solomon Islands for a 14-day trip, which turned out to be just the beginning of an ongoing connection between CCC and the people of the Solomons.
in 2008, CCC ran its second trip and the bonds with the people of the Solomons deepened.
In 2009, CCC established a sister school relationship with Marivari Primary School and our vision to develop a cross-cultural unity was now firmly established.
In 2010, CCC teamed with World Hope Australia and NGOs from around the world to raise funds to help rebuild its sister school, which was destroyed in 2007 tsunami.
On their projects the participants have included a strong emphasis on education, health and community development. Their planned trip in September this year will include education about dental hygiene.