The POLHN Experience of Joseph Rusaqoli – Cook Islands Dental Therapist
Published on: 26 December, 2017
Rusaqoli is a dental therapist with the Ministry of Health in the Cook Islands. He looks after the dental department on the island of Aitutaki, which as a population of over 2,500 people.
As a dental therapist, his job entails doing fillings, full mouth cleaning and polishing, extractions, oral hygiene instruction and giving dietary advice in relation to dental caries and gum disease. Joseph also does community visits and visits to schools, where he does check ups, screenings, and dental treatments on-site.
Through POLHN, Joseph studied a postgraduate certificate in public health online. He recently spoke to us to share his experience.**
“I am very thankful to POLHN for sponsoring me to study my postgraduate certificate in Public Health online. The courses have really increased my knowledge on the different aspects of health that are affecting us here in the Pacific. One important thing I learnt is the need for a combined effort with all the stakeholders: the government and the ministries need to work together in order to achieve their goal of providing better health for all.
I have also managed to make a few changes at my clinic here in Aitutaki. I believe these have helped improve my service delivery and have also increased the availability of my services to the people here when they need it. Since I have been here I have been able to engage with the people in the community and I have also formulated a few pamphlets and brochures on dental awareness, which have been released and are currently in use here today. My POLHN studies also encourage me to reach out to the private sector for donations on certain projects. For example, I was able to get in contact with Colgate New Zealand and they kindly donated some dental packs and Colgate backpacks to help me with my school visits and community outreach.
Thank you very much POLHN for your sponsorship. It enabled me to do further studies and help improve myself as a person as well as as a clinician. I look forward to your continued support.”
Edited by: Margaret Goydych
For more information, please contact Mr Mohammed Yasin, WHO technical officer (email here).