PROMOTING ORAL HEALTH IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS OF QUETTA, PAKISTAN: THE CHALLENGES AND GROUND REALITIES
Oral health is a vital part of general health.1-2 Oral diseases result in millions of school and work hours lost each year globally.3-5 As per WHO, sixty to ninety percent of school children have dental caries globally.6 Schools are an important setting to impart health education and health promotion to children.10 Aim of this study was to ascertain what oral health activities exist in primary schools of Quetta city of Pakistan. This is a cross sectional study including all the public and private schools of Quetta, the Provincial city of Balochistan, Pakistan. Principals of the public and private primary schools were interviewed regarding oral health activities in their schools.
Forty seven percent (n=29) schools had no access to tap water. Only three percent schools (n=2) reported to have their water tested for Fluoride levels. Seventy three percent (n=45) reported that oral health topics are not included in their curriculum. Ninety five percent (n=59) schools do not hold oral health awareness sessions. None of the schools (n=0) reported to have tooth brushing activity in their schools.
This study highlighted lack of knowledge and many challenges confronted by primary school authorities related to the promotion of oral health. Lack of basic amenities, unknown levels of fluoride in drinking water, deficient curriculum on oral health related materials were the main issues reported. There is a dire need for provision of basic amenities in schools, inclusion of oral health related materials in curriculum and initiation of oral health education programs in schools.