SCH to launch GCC Oral Health Week on Sunday
LANI ROSE R DIZON
DOHA THE Public Health Department of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) will launch the third GCC Oral Health Week on Sunday.
Under the theme ‘Balance your diet to enjoy good oral health’, the week-long campaign will have governmental and non-governmental institutions participating in activities that raise awareness towards proper nutrition and dental hygiene and promote good oral health among the public.
Primary, secondary, and tertiary schools under the Supreme Education Council (SEC) will also hold their own special activities to mark the GCC-wide oral health campaign on their campuses.
The awareness programmes will be organised in collaboration with the SEC, Primary Health Care Corporation, College of the North Atlantic Qatar (CNAQ), and Al Jazeera Children’s Channel.
Addressing the media on Thursday, SCH Public Health Director Dr Mohammed al Thani said that the event comes within the GCC oral health plan which aims at fighting oral diseases through awareness campaigns.
Speaking about the national oral health strategy which is currently being developed in Qatar, Dr Abdulla Asad al Emadi, oral health unit supervisor at the SCH, said that results for the first National Oral Health Survey conducted last year would soon be released after approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) this year.
The survey was conducted in about 4,500 students aged 6, 12, and 15 years old.
Results from the survey would help in the development of the national oral health strategy, he added.
During the event, CNAQ officials also reiterated their commitment in partnering with the SCH to promote educational programmes on oral health.
Lynn A Myler, CNAQ dental assistant programme instructor, said the college would launch a dental hygiene programme next January apart from its existing dental assistant programme.
It would also hold its annual table clinics on April 3 in partnership with the SCH to support the GCC Oral Health Week.
Myler also said, “Our main mandate is to promote good oral hygiene awareness for our faculty and students as well as the community.
During the table clinics, we give out oral hygiene instructions, pamphlets, toothbrushes, and flosses. It’s very important to send the message of proper nutrition and dental hygiene to the public,” Val Cunningham, dental hygiene instructor at CNAQ, also said, “Oral health is very important to keep your body functioning properly. With diabetes in Qatar being in such a high rate as it is, that can affect your oral health. If a dental disease goes systemic, it can go into the blood and the body can become toxic. It can increase heart disease, chances of diabetes being uncontrolled, preterm births among babies, and even miscarriage during pregnancy. And oral health is even the basics of selfesteem”.
Irene O’Brien, dean of School of Health Sciences at CNAQ, spoke about the importance of oral hygiene among the elderly.
She said, “People are not aware that issues of oral health in geriatric population can cause all kinds of havoc such as chest infections.
Studies have linked such diseases between oral hygiene among older people in nursing homes.” Statistics from the GCC epidemiological studies state that the prevalence of dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities, ranges between 80 to 90 percent among GCC children. The dental ailment is also very common among residents in Qatar.