Souths Cares concluded its road trip to regional NSW last week as part of its highly successful Indigenous Oral Health Care Program.

Having engaged more than 1200 country students from nine New England Region primary schools, Souths Cares General Manager, Brock Schaefer, said that the trip was a great achievement.

“Visiting these communities is what Souths Cares is all about – taking our educational health programs to young students who wouldn’t otherwise hear these important messages,” Brock said.

“At Souths Cares we take our role as a community educators seriously and that is why we made the 1287km round trip to share those positive health messages.

“But our follow up with the students is just as important.  We have already received feedback from 950 students with more to be available in the coming weeks.

“This data allows us to track the students’ knowledge on oral health both prior to and after the sessions are delivered.

“A month after the sessions, Souths Cares provides more resources to the schools and surveys the students a second time.

“This method allows us to track and monitor any changes in knowledge, behaviour and attitude towards oral health.

“It also highlights any adjustments that could be made to program content and delivery.

“The students and school communities need to be acknowledged for embracing our visit and their commitment to the four days of activities.

“I would like to acknowledge also the contribution the NRL makes to the trip by making Mario Fenech and Dean Widders available to travel with us and their local development officers to organise the football clinics for the students.

“Also thanks go to the Rabbitohs who allowed Kirisome Auva'a to travel with us, educating the students in oral health and teaching them basic football techniques.

“Former Rabbitohs legend Nathan Merritt and Rhys Wesser also were on hand to facilitate the Oral Indigenous Oral Health session.”

Brock said that government agencies, the University of Sydney and Colgate all played an important role in the trip’s success.

“In partnership with the NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy, Colgate and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Souths Cares is well placed to comprehensively deliver the Program to both city and country students and will continue to do over the coming years,” said Brock.

“We are scheduled to visit the Central West of NSW in December and perhaps the Far West after that,” he concluded.