South Dunedin Teddy Bear Hospital

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Alisa Aizal (5), of North East Valley, and her x-rayed doll Amy, at The South Dunedin Teddy Bear Hospital at Carisbrook School. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Hundreds of sick teddies and dolls descended on Caversham for treatment on last Saturday.

South Dunedin Community Network community facilitator Michelle Reddy said more than 250 children brought their teddies, dolls and families to the South Dunedin Teddy Bear Hospital at Carisbrook School.

“It was fantastic. We got more kids than we hoped for.”

The teddies and dolls were given free check-ups from a range of University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students studying health disciplines such as nursing, nutrition and physiotherapy.

The event was designed to give children a friendly first interaction with the healthcare system, she said.

The fun interactions relieved any fears the children and parents might have about visiting health professionals.

The students benefited by learning how to interact with children.

The pilot event was a success and she hoped it would be held annually in the wider South Dunedin area.

The event was held in the South Dunedin area because of its lack of accessible children’s events.

As accessing healthcare services in South Dunedin could be a challenge, holding a Teddy Bear Hospital in the area was about “bringing it to the people who need it the most”.