The health authorities in Qatar aim to lower dental caries by 25% in children by 2022, a top official of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has said.
“Oral health is part of our public health strategy and is very important as we see a high number of oral cases, especially among small children. One of our targets in the National Health Strategy is to lower dental caries by 25% in kids by 2022. According to a study in 2013, 88% of Qatari kids below the age of six are suffering from tooth decay while 61% non-Qatari kids are also affected,” said Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al-Thani, director of Public Health, MoPH.
Sheikh Dr Mohamed was speaking to the media Sunday on the sidelines of the launch of the Oral and Dental Health Month event held on the MoPH premises.
Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani
“We are raising awareness about oral health in a big way. We have our oral health committee, and are going to work on children and adolescents on a big programme through primary healthcare. We have also set up several programmes in schools to assure that kids have better care of their teeth,” he explained.
“We are going to target mothers so that they assure to take care of children’s teeth. Oral health is one of the highest burdens on the private sector. This can be reduced. A new study will be done to find the present prevalence of oral and dental health problems among children,” the official continued.
Dr Wafaa al-Mulla, head of the National Task Force for the Promotion and Prevention of Oral and Dental Health at the National Oral and Dental Health Committee, said Qatar has a significant burden of oral and dental health problems, which is more prominent in children aged 4-5 years.
“The main message that we are trying to convey during the oral health month is that good oral health is important for everyone. Not taking care of teeth and gums can lead to serious pain, which effects physical, mental and social wellbeing. In children, dental problems can effect eating habits and the ability to go to school as well as overall activities,” said Dr al-Mulla.
The oral health month is part of a broader awareness activities that will be overseen by the National Oral Health Committee. “During the campaign, we will have students from various public and private schools who will be visiting the Ministry of Public Health three days a week for the entire month to learn about the importance of maintaining oral health,” she pointed out.
“We will also have booths at all Hamad Medical Corporation hospitals where dentists, will provide free dental consultation and distribution of information brochures and pamphlets. The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) will also host various activities and awareness messages will be distributed through social media,” she added.
The ceremony was attended by Najat al-Yafei, programme director and head of Preventive Oral and Dental Health at PHCC. The campaign include awareness activities organised by the MoPH for students of public and private schools on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays of each week in March. It will have the participation of about 200 students from four schools on each day.