The aims and objectives of the programme included; provision of up-to-date and relevant knowledge and training for prevention, encouraging teaching and training of preventive techniques and methods in various departments of medical and dental colleges, enabling general practitioners, hospitals and health centers to acquire good knowhow and training of health promotion and prevention, encourage development of innovative and cost-effective techniques and programmes for prevention, besides giving away prizes and awards to acknowledge any individual, group or organization, that shows outstanding performance in the above mentioned arena.
Dr. S. Hussain Askary, Head – Department of Dental Public Health, Director, Admini-stration & Academics, explai-ning why he had come up with this ambitious programme, said that; Due to poor Government policies and lack of interest of the healthcare professionals towards public health issues, all efforts are focused on providing best possible treatment to the affording class. With the support of various multina-tional companies, a handful of private practitioners have championed high-end and sophisticated technologies for providing the tertiary level of care. They also spearhead educational activities and set trends for the newcomers to follow, even the medical edu-cation syllabi reflect the same. The central concepts of public health like: “Prevention is Better than Cure” or “Prevention is Key” have become clichés, which are usually the theme of various conferences and thus the message of every keynote speaker, but meaning little to them. He went on to say that; under the current economic conditions, the very basic health related task of maintaining personal hygiene is considered too costly by a large majority of the population. One third of Pakistan, population lives below the poverty line and are unable to afford healthy diets or water purification systems. Even daily use of soap and toothpaste is out of the reach for many. With the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots in Pakistan, the inequitable distribution of healthcare is now at its extreme. Dr Askary further reported that; this problem is more acute when it comes to dental health and care. Training more dentists and building dental clinics – the western curative model of care, is costly and unrealistic in most low-income and middle-income countries. Prevention of oral disease is therefore the only solution, largely possible, and should be a routine part of other health professionals’ work. Dental care, globally is very expensive and with the increasing burden of disease, it is absolutely essential.
He appealed that the dental community should take up the role of advocates for health promotion, provide technical knowhow of prevention and develop guidelines, monitor policies and protect the population from spreading diseases, while also warning the public about serious health risks. “Passion for Prevention” may not be able to achieve all that very soon, but it would certainly be a step towards the right direction, he concluded.