Special children need oral care more than most
Oral health contributes to the general health, self-esteem and quality of life of an individual. Many published studies have reported relatively poor oral hygiene and high levels of periodontal disease in mentally challenged children. Dental caries is the most prevalent disease among mentally retarded children worldwide and dental treatment is the greatest unattended health need of the disabled. Some of the most important reasons may be inadequate sessions, socioeconomic status, underestimation of treatment need or pain, communication problems and bad cooperation
To shed light on this important matter, Special Olympics Pakistan (SOP) has organized a seminar on SO Pakistan Special Smiles Dental Conference under the theme “Train the Trainers” to treat mentally challenged children.
Eminent Dentists from all over Pakistan including Prof Dr Iffat Batool, Dr Sajjad Ahmed, Dr Nasrullah Mengal, Dr Erum Khan, Dr Shah Faisal, Dr Asma Shakoor, Dr Maaz Asad and Dr Faisal Shafiq attended the training session. The faculty, students and house officers of Karachi Medical & Dental College, Dow Dental College and Altamash Institute of Dental Medicine also participated in the event.
During the training session, Regional Clinical Advisor for Special Smiles, Special Olympics-Asia Pacific, Dr Lawrence Mah Hon Kheong, said a handbook has been launched for clinical directors to treat mentally challenged or special children to increase awareness regarding the importance of oral health in the mentally challenged athletes, and educate their parents about maintain their dental hygiene.
He said the major responsibilities of clinical directors to recruit volunteers, logistic on site, equipment, scheduling, and screening of children and data management. He said enhancing the number of dental professionals and raising funds from parliamentarian as well as private sectors are also important to severe people with intellectual disability (ID).
A heartfelt tribute was paid to Dr Ruth Pfau, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Dr Adeeb Rizvi and others who served the nation selflessly. Similarly, a motivational video was also shown on self-belief in order to motivate mentally challenged children and young doctors to serve the community.
National Coordinator Healthy Athlete Program, Asma Hassan, said around 80 to 100 mentally challenged children have been selected from Effect Special School and Scinosa Day Home Special School for dental screening and filing at Altamash Institute of Dental Medicine. She said trained clinical directors will perform screening and filling of mentally challenged athletes.
She informed that such screening camps for special athletes will be conducted throughout the country by Special Olympics Pakistan. She said aim of launching this drive is to further transform mentally challenge children into healthy athletes. She said clinical directors will provide eye, oral, audio, psychotherapeutic and other treatment facilities in the screening camps.
Asma Hasan said Pakistani special athletes had won gold medals in different athletic events held in the past in various countries, and will continue to bring pride to their home country.