Evaluation of an oral health education program for young aboriginal children: feedback from parents, aboriginal health workers and managerial staff
Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is an aggressive type of dental caries that affects preschool-age children. It has a high prevalence among Australia's Aboriginal child population but can be prevented with appropriate advice. Trained Aboriginal Health Workers provided parents with young Aboriginal children advice about preventing dental caries as part of a health education program, 'Smiles not Tears'. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the health education program in terms of its cultural appropriateness, content, accessibility, sustainability and implementation. Parents, Aboriginal Health Workers and Managers from Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) were individually asked questions by an independent interviewer to gather feedback about the 'Smiles not Tears' health education program. Questions were answered as 'yes', 'no'; 'unsure' or 'not applicable' and any further comments were scribed by the interviewer. The results showed that most parents (n = 96; 99.0%), Aboriginal Health Workers (n = 9; 100%) and Managers (n = 4; 100%) thought the program was culturally appropriate. All parents (n = 97; 100%) thought the advice given was easy to understand and most thought the information was easy to put into practice (n = 95; 97.9%). Aboriginal Health Workers (n = 9; 100%) and Managers (n = 4; 100%) would like to see the health education program continue in their Community Controlled Health Services. The 'Smiles not Tears' dental education program was well received by the majority of parents, Aboriginal Health Workers and managers. The program was culturally appropriate and easy to understand.