World Oral Health Day: Free dental treatment of 5000 children pledged

KARACHI: Dr Hussain Askary, Head, Department of Dental Public Health, during the World Oral Health Day announced that the FJ Dental Hospital located in Azam Town, will provide dental treatment to five thousand school children free of cost.

The Fatima Jinnah Dental College FJDC established in 1992 is a pioneer in dental health care, besides producing over a thousand dental graduates, it is well known for providing quality treatment on cost to cost basis. Dr Askary addressing over 200 dentists gathered at the ceremony said that communities around the world have been celebrating World Oral Health Day since FDI World Dental Federation decided to create the special celebratory day and offers the dental and oral health community a platform to highlight various issues of oral health and to take collective actions to address them. He urged the attendees to realize that one third of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line and the Nation is overwhelmed by the burden of disease.

Decay and loss of teeth, gum problems and now the very common mouth cancers are taxing the wellbeing of the population. Under the economic condition of Pakistan, the masses will not be able to get dental care from the private practitioners, nor will dental care be a priority for the Government spending any time soon. Thus the only solution is to focus on prevention through community efforts.

Creating awareness and inculcating oral health and hygiene consciousness among the public is a very huge challenge, especially when large majority of them cannot read or write. Thus, out of the box thinking and developing very innovative methods of health promotion, at grass root level is required, along with widespread campaigning on electronic media, can do the job.

Another approach is to focus on children, as 35% of Pakistan’s population is under 15, any effort made to install oral hygiene and other healthy habits can ensure strong and disease free dentition for life. Schools, colleges and madrassas are very convenient community settings for such activities. More over introducing oral and general health related topic to their curriculum and involving teachers and students in fun filled health promoting activities have proven to bring about very positive behaviour changes.

Fatima Jinnah Dental College under the guidance of Dr. Hussain Askary has adopted 10 schools where they carry out regular dental screenings, awareness programs and teachers training in health promotion. They also have setup dental clinics within two of these schools. Last year they provided dental screening to over eight thousand school children. The Fatima Jinnah Dental Hospital at Azam Town provides free treatments to these school children during summer and winter vacations.

When Dr Hussain Askary asked informed that Dental Public Health is a field which has been neglected in Pakistan. Recently many doctors are showing interest in this field. Dr. Askary informed that he received his training from UK during his post gradation studies and since returned to Pakistan in 2009 he has been spreading his expertise by teaching and training on various platforms.