A pilot-programme on oral health will be rolled out for children in primary schools in February, a Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) official has said.
PHCC Manager of Oral Health Division Dr Asmaa AlKhtib said,"In the new programme, we will target the entire primary school from kindergarten to grade six during phase one. We will extend it to the older groups up to 18 years in the future. We will start the project after the school holidays in February."
At present, the programme is for children between grade one and four 6-10 years old.
Dental cavities in children are a major health issue in Qatar and average decay among schoolchildren ranges between 80 and 89 percent.
Dental cavity is the number one health concern among children, five times more than asthma and diabetes.
Speaking on the sidelines of PHCC Scientific Research Conference 2016, Dr Asmaa said the current school oral health programme was started in 1988 but this programme is not sufficient to attend to the growing needs for oral health among children.
"We are restructuring the programme and expanding it. We are taking part of the programme back to the schools, which is prevention. Prevention activities for oral disease will be taken to the schools. Screening and treatment will be provided at health centres," she informed.
Dr Asmaa said about 33,000 children were screened and 28,000 received treatment in the past three years.
"The programme now runs at three health centres ” Mesaimeer, Abu Baker Sidiq and Al Dayeen health centres. We have five dental rooms with 10 dentists. We work in two shifts. Screening is done in the morning shift and children are required to come in the afternoon for treatment with their parents," she said.
"We started the research training programme in 2015. We managed to train 117 health professionals in basic research methodology," Dr Asmaa said.
The first day of the two-day conference saw renowned healthcare research scientists delivering keynote lectures and workshops on childhood and adolescent health with a focus on addressing obesity, as well as implementing school-based health programmes in Qatar.
Associate Dean of Research at Northwestern University, Qatar, Prof Klaus Schoenbach led sessions such as use of digital technologies to provide health information and health monitoring.
"Young people should be encouraged of a lifestyle that prevents serious illnesses later in life. Our research is inventorying how Qatari adolescents use and evaluate media and communication channels of all sorts, health apps and health-trackers to optimise health-related information and advice for them."
In a statement, PHCC Executive Director Clinical Affairs Dr Hanan al Mujalli said,"PHCC continues in its mission to lead in providing best healthcare to Qatar's population. We recognise that PHCC also has to be research-led and research-informed. Having successfully launched this conference in December 2015, we decided to build on this foundation and create this forum providing a platform for us to share best practice and identify potential collaborators to work together for better health outcomes."
Source Credit: Qatar Tribune