Māori Oral Health

Research Evaluation Consultancy (REC) Ltd

Funder: Ministry of Health

Timeframe: 2008-10

Evaluation of the Māori Oral Health Providers project, Ministry of Health (published 2011)

The Māori Oral Health Providers project was a project to enhance the capacity and capability of Māori oral health providers to deliver oral health services in their communities. This project was evaluated by a team of evaluators coordinated by Research Evaluation Consultancy Ltd. The team was Nan Wehipeihana, Judy Oakden, Kellie Spee, Fiona Cram, Kataraina Pipi and Lauri Porima. The full report can be accessed here.

The aims of the evaluation were to assess the extent that:

  • the Project was aligned to capacity and capability development literature and ‘good’ practice
  • the provision of one-off funding impacted on the capacity and capability of the Providers to develop and/or establish appropriate oral health services
  • the relationships between the Ministry, Project Providers and their respective DHBs improved as a result of the Project
  • there is sufficient evidence that overall, this kind of initiative should be repeated.

Conclusion: The specific aim of the Project was to enhance the position of these Providers to deliver oral health services in their communities consistent with the strategic vision for oral health (MoH, 2006a). It also aimed to strengthen Provider and DHB relationships and to raise the profile of Māori oral health providers as key contributors to the oral health needs of Māori and their communities.

In summary, as a result of the Project:

  • All Providers have increased their capacity and capability to deliver oral health services in their communities.
  • Relationships between Providers and DHBs have variously been strengthened
  • Some Providers are accepted and valued for their contribution to oral health planning and service delivery in their community.
  • There is greater awareness of Māori provider oral health service capability within some DHBs.

There is a need to further investigate claims that Māori presenting with high levels of oral health needs, impact on service quality, delivery and costs. Despite the challenges of this Project, Providers would recommend to other Māori oral health providers to participate in a similar project This report identified possible efficiency gains which could be made in the future around Project implementation, bringing Providers and possibly DHBs together at critical stages of the project. However, the evaluation concluded that continued Ministry involvement is required to ensure an increased focus by DHBs on Māori oral health and to achieve greater presence of Māori oral health provider service delivery.

A presentation at the 2012 AES Conference, 'Quizzing purposeful Relationships', discusses the relationship questionnaire used in this evaluation.

Future Directions for a Māori Dental Therapy Workforce, Ministry of Health (published 2010)

The Future Directions for a Māori Dental Therapy Workforce project was undertaken by Fiona Cram, Judy Oakden and Nan Wehipeihana under the auspices of Research Evaluation Consultancy Ltd.

The aim of the present project was to collate information on the status of the Māori dental therapy workforce, and analyse the needs of the Māori dental therapist workforce over the next eight years.

The paper examines the current and future needs of the Māori dental therapy workforce in terms of the oral health service requirements of Māori and the supply of Māori dental therapists.  These were considered within the context of a Māori 0–17-year-old population which is projected to grow by 13.7 percent to just under 300,000 by 2018 (or 21.2% of the young people in this age group).  If nothing else changes, this growth in population alone can be expected to place heavier demands on dental therapy services in the next eight years.

The premise underlying the analysis of the supply of Māori dental therapists is that every Māori child and young person (aged 0–17 years) should receive optimal oral health services.  Four scenarios were explored for the provision of these services. 

  1. Growth in the oral therapy workforce that aligns with what the current institutions can supply.
  2. Every Māori child receiving optimal oral health care, with a growing Māori workforce contributing to this service provision.
  3. The proportion of Māori in the oral health therapy workforce aligning with the proportion of the population under 18 years of age that is Māori.
  4. Every Māori child being able to receive optimal oral health care from a Māori dental therapist if they or their whānau choose.

The full report can be accessed here. Also see a related project on the Māori medical workforce here.

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Fiona Cram,
27 Dec 2012, 21:40
Ċ
Fiona Cram,
27 Dec 2012, 21:40
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