As part of its initiative to promote healthy lifestyle among students, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) will hold an eight-week long oral health programme under the title “Bright Smile, Bright Future” for grade two and three school pupils, it was announced yesterday.
The programme is being held in collaboration with Colgate-Palmolive, which will supply brushes and toothpaste as well as support the production of educational materials by the SCH .
“Qatar is desperately in need of a oral health diseases prevention programme among schoolchildren and this is the first initiative by the health authorities towards fulfilling that need,” SCH Oral Health Programme consultant Dr Abdalla Saad al-Emadi told journalists at the SCH-Colgate-Palmolive agreement-signing ceremony.
SCH Public Health Department director Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani and Colgate-Palmolive Arab and Gulf States marketing director Marios Tirkides signed the three-year agreement.
The official explained that the main purpose of the initiative, which will begin in the first week of March and run until April, was to promote oral health among some 6,000 pupils from a total of 30 schools in Qatar.
“For eight weeks, we will provide teachers in those selected schools with educational materials, aside conducting lectures on oral health education and ensure that they pass the message of brushing twice daily to students to see that it becomes their second nature as well as to ensure that their parents are also promoting good oral health hygiene at home,” he explained.
Each participating student will be encouraged to keep a chart of their twice daily brushing and will be awarded a certificate of compliance by end of the month.
According to al-Emadi, dental caries and periodontal are the two most common dental diseases among schoolchildren in Qatar.
“In order to ensure the success of this initiative, we plan to release the result of a nationwide survey on oral hygiene conducted by the SCH in 2011 under the supervision of the World Health Organisation, by end of April,” he said.
The result of the survey is expected to form the basis for a national oral health strategy currently being developed in the country.
Al-Emadi said that some 15 full-time clinicians had worked on the survey between May-November 2011 gathering data about oral health status among 4,200 students, aged six, 12, and 15 years old, selected with the help of the Qatar Statistics Authority.
Health promoting schools, being described as the one “that constantly strengthens its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working in Qatar”, was in line with the WHO’s Global School Health Initiative launched in 1995.
The GCC Health Ministers Office had asked all GCC countries to implement the project.