KARACHI- Looking at the conference calendar of dentistry all one can think is that the industry is booming like never before. If that is not the case then what is the reason for this sudden surge in the number of dental conferences in Pakistan. The talk of the town is that the dentists have suddenly found interest in holding conferences to make money on the side and for building their own image even if it happens at the cost of tarnishing their own reputation.
There was a big gap of 3 years after APDC and then Dental News launched the idea with DTMA to organize a conference and invited some academicians to head the academic side of the conference and also appointed a professor as the chairman of the congress. This was followed by another big show in Lahore IADSR followed by PDA event in Karachi.
This then caught the attention of dental surgeons, professors who started to announce their own conferences left, right and center and approaching the companies for hefty sponsorships. Most of the events have had students as the registered participants which failed to generate interest from the sponsors as they hardly get any practitioners who are their real buyers.
The recent conference in Islamabad by the professor turned conference organizer was a fiasco for the speakers, the sponsors as well as the participants but as long as the organizer made money they are happy. This trend needs to be addressed as eventually the trade will increase the price to accommodate these events which will ultimately result in prices going up making the patient suffer by paying more.
There are two conferences in the pipeline IADSR with 2 foreign speakers coming in followed by another in Bhurban on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The registered delegates so far are mostly students with the result the sponsors are in a fix whether to say no or yes to the event. The conference in Bhurban is organized by 4 associations so let us wait and see.
It is high time that the industry and professionals sit together to resolve this clear divide and decide on the number of annual events so that everyone stands to gain from them rather than letting the handful of dentists gain from the new found way of self-projection and money making. Interesting there has never been an audit except for 99 PDA conference even though all organizers urge the need for audits.