Oxfam supports innovative projects that invest in better health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Islander people. So at the beginning of the year, Oxfam partnered with the Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS) to deliver the ‘Deadly Smiles’ project.
The Deadly Smiles project provides essential services around dental and oral health by emphasising the importance of healthy teeth and targeting and treating symptoms of mouth disease.
Dentist Dr. Dumi Medago leads the Deadly Smiles project and said the project was already getting lots of positive feedback from local community members.
“This project means quite a lot to me in few ways. It is not just a machine and materials (that) make teeth whiter. It is absolutely much more than that,” said Dumi
And he’s right. As a result of the project, local community members have quit smoking and gained the confidence in themselves to show off their deadly smiles in their workplace and around their family.
For his contribution to community, Dumi recently was a finalist for the Appreciation Award at Albury Wodonga NAIDOC Awards night, after being nominated by members of the Albury Wodonga Aboriginal community.
Members said that Dumi is “a bright, happy uplifting spirit to help relax his dental patients at AWAHS,” and “provides great dental care and education” and “prevents chronic illness through his dental care for our community”.
The Appreciation Award is presented to individuals who are non-Indigenous who have:
• demonstrated commitment and contribution to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the long term, and demonstrated achievement in this area, and
• demonstrated involvement in the Indigenous community at the local, regional and/or national levels.
Dumi joined the AWAHS team in 2011 and has enjoyed getting to know local Aboriginal people. When asked what his vision around Indigenous health was, Dumi said:
“It is a long journey. We need to go by holding hands with each other, but be strong and hold each other’s hands tightly — then you will achieve your goal”
Read more about Oxfam’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program