Children in the age group of 5 to 6 years, 10 to 11 years and 15 to 16 years, across public and private schools in Dubai took part in the screening program and survey.
The survey which is taking place in collaboration with WHO was conducted across 47 schools in Dubai
United Arab Emirates, Dubai, June 11, 2013: The Dubai Health Authority and WHO announced today that they have completed data collection for the survey to access oral hygiene status of Dubai school children.
As part of the survey, 5617 students, in the age group of 5 to 6 years, 10 to 11 years and 15 to 16 years, from public and private schools in Dubai underwent a screening program.
The survey includes screening programs and clinical examinations, which were carried out by DHA dentists and hygienists according to World Health Organization criteria. The Decay-missing-filled index (DMF), which is one of the most common methods in oral epidemiology for assessing dental caries prevalence as well as dental treatment needs among populations, was used for this survey.
Schools across all geographical areas of Dubai including Hatta were part of this program. Of the 5617 students who took part in the survey, 1939 were from governmental schools and 3678 were from private schools. The next phase of this survey includes data analysis and preparing a report on the steps needed to improve oral hygiene of school children in the emirate.
Dr Ahmad Kalban, CEO of DHA Primary Healthcare Centre, said: “This research program will provide us with information about the current level of oral healthcare habits of school children in Dubai. It will also help us assess the level of dental knowledge and attitudes among children. Once we collate and study this information, we will base our oral healthcare policies and preventative programs in accordance with the results of the survey to ensure we effectively help improve oral health behaviours among school children.”
Dr Tariq Khoory, director of dental services, Primary Healthcare Sector at the DHA, said “We believe that formulating preventative programs based on scientific-evidence and research will directly help in reducing the prevalence of dental health problems among children and adolescents in Dubai.”
He added that the survey has been undertaken as per WHO guidelines- the age group; sample size etc is as per the recommendations of the WHO. “This survey is of critical importance because oral health problems only get worse with age and therefore educating the youth and encouraging oral health hygiene early on is crucial. Often oral health problems are neglected but parents and caregivers need to understand that common oral diseases such as dental caries and periodontitis, tend to cause pain and discomfort subsequently leading to absenteeism and poor performance among pupils.”
He added that inculcating regular oral hygiene among school children and adolescents is essential. “Several factors such as improved oral hygiene, a sensible approach to sugar consumption and school-based preventive programmes are essential to reduce the problem of caries among school children.”
Mobile dental buses were used to conduct this screening program.
In 2012, at the UAE International Dental Conference & Arab Dental Exhibition and congress (ADEEC), His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and President of the Dubai Health Authority inaugurated two mobile dental units, which he donated to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) with an aim to provide better accessibility to dental services.
The aim of providing the DHA with these two mobile dental units was to help the authority reach out to people in the remote areas of Dubai, people who are handicapped, the elderly population and school children.
Since last year, in addition to the screening program for this survey, the authority has carried out mass screenings using the mobile buses. So far, 1800 people have been treated and screened using the mobile dental units through campaigns carried out in Lusaily, Hatta etc.
The DHA has 17 dental centres spread across the Emirate of Dubai. In 2012, the DHA dental centres received 140,000 patients, in 2011 the centres received 117,384 patients and in 2010, they received 107,271 patients respectively.
** The Dubai Health Authority**