8 May 2019
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has sent a 13-member contingent to provide dental care in Samoa over the next two weeks.
Major Philip Worthington, who is leading the NZDF contingent, said the programme, run in collaboration with Samoa’s Ministry of Health, would be held from 8-22 May.
“We will be working with the Samoan Government to provide dental care to those who need it most,” Major Worthington said.
The NZDF has taken dental field equipment and dental supplies for Exercise Tropic Twilight, as the programme is called. A range of dental treatment, including restorative dentistry, will be provided through a clinic at Poutasi Village on the southeast coast of Samoa’s main island, Upolu.
“We are looking at treating about 50 people a day through the clinic,” Major Worthington said. “We also want to promote a message of dental care.”
The NZDF contingent taking part in Exercise Tropic Twilight is a mix of Regular Force and Reservist personnel and includes dentists, dental assistants, a dental hygienist and a medic.
The NZDF has conducted similar dental care programmes in Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty, Kaitaia, Vanuatu and Samoa.
It also sent a 100-strong contingent comprising doctors, dentists, nurses and engineers to Samoa in 2012 to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.