The Oral Health Promotion and Prevention Department (OHPP) at the Preventive Health Directorate of the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) is specialized in enhancing the oral and dental health of Qatar's residents through its proactive approach focused towards oral health education for the prevention of oral diseases. It recognizes that the mouth is an integral part of overall health, and maintaining it in optimal condition contributes to a better quality of life.
Dr. Najat Alyafei, Manager of Oral Health Promotion and Prevention at PHCC’s Preventative Health Directorate, said: “Unfortunately, oral diseases, such as tooth decay and gum diseases, are widespread and affect individuals of all ages and genders. However, these diseases can be significantly prevented through education on the importance of maintaining oral and dental health and preventing associated diseases.”
In light of this, PHCC established the Preventive Oral Health Services Department in 2016. This department aimed to increase awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth with sound teeth and gums, providing effective preventive programs and services for the entire community. In 2022, the department expanded its responsibilities and changed its name to "Oral Health Promotion and Prevention Department " to better reflect its mission and goals.
This specialized department in Qatar is proactive and actively works to ensure the awareness and education of oral and dental health reach every individual in the community. To fulfill its mission, the department has developed various programs and initiatives executed through different operational departments. One such program is the "School Dental Program," targeting students at an early age to instill proper oral hygiene habits that last a lifetime. The program examines students for various oral diseases, educates them on proper brushing techniques, and provides preventive treatments like fluoride application and sealants.
Among the new initiatives is the "Elderly Home Oral Health Care Services" program, addressing the oral health challenges faced by seniors receiving home care services. Understanding the specific needs and challenges of the elderly, the program conducts examinations, provides education, and facilitates necessary treatments for maintaining their oral health.
The department emphasizes inclusivity, focusing on promoting oral and dental health for students with special needs in their schools. This involves identifying the conditions and needs of this group, prioritizing their care, and offering dental examinations, preventive care, and referrals for necessary treatments.
Additionally, the department organizes a community awareness campaign called " Ahlan Oral Health." The campaign aims to increase awareness about oral and dental health, highlighting the importance of preventive measures such as regular dental check-ups, teeth cleaning, and regular use of dental floss. It also aims to educate the public about the interconnectedness of oral health and overall health, encouraging individuals to prioritize their oral health for a healthier and more prosperous life.
The department actively participates in the National Sports Day annually through the School Dental Program, spreading awareness to reduce the risks of dental injuries during sports or physical activities among school students.
Recognizing the crucial role of employees in the success of any government entity, the department extends its oral health promotion services to employees of various state ministries through dedicated campaigns.
One of the main goals of the department is to enhance our workforce by empowering the dental staff working with us. This involves providing training and educational opportunities to enable them to identify community needs and implement programs to improve oral health, with a strong focus on administrative governance. The department develops policies, guidelines, standard operating procedures, and protocols to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of oral health services by all staff involved.
As part of our commitment to innovation, we have envisioned a variety of new programs and strategies to promote oral health among school students at different age levels. One such program involves the application of fluoride on students' teeth by school nurses, aiming to strengthen teeth and prevent decay.
Our department stands out as the only health entity in Qatar with 12 mobile dental units. These units provide a unique opportunity to establish dental clinics directly in diverse locations, ensuring accessibility for all. They operate in schools and participate in various community awareness events, significantly increasing the number of people who can benefit from oral examinations and preventive services.
Infection control and safety are prioritized in all our programs and services. The mobile dental units are carefully sterilized after each oral examination service, and single-use dental tools are employed to minimize infection risks, strictly adhering to safety procedures.
In conclusion, through our diverse programs and initiatives, we aim to promote various aspects of oral and dental health in the community. We seek to raise community awareness about the importance of oral and dental health and the necessity of preventing various oral diseases to improve the oral health of the general population in the State of Qatar.