Bangladesh: FDI President addresses dental students
FDI President Dr Orlando Monteiro da Silva was in Bangladesh mid-November to strengthen ties with local member, the Bangladesh Dental Society (BDS). This first visit by an FDI president would, he said, have a huge impact and play a key role in enhancing the credibility of the local national dental association (NDA).
The trip was also an opportunity for Dr da Silva to address some 400 of the country's future dentists gathered on 23 November to learn more about FDI, its Vision 2020—the FDI roadmap for dental medicine in the coming decade—and the landmark initiative Live.Learn.Laugh. (LLL), fruit of a unique partnership between FDI and Unilever.
Crucial role of LLL
The presentation by the FDI president—the third during 2012after Istanbul in February and Cape Town in early November—reflects the crucial role played by LLL within FDI activities, strategy and overall vision of ‘Leading the World to Optimal Oral Health'. The event was organized by Unilever Bangladesh.
LLL in Bangladesh is implemented through the BDS, which represents the interests of the country's 4,500* dentists. As a low-income developing country** Bangladesh has a relatively low density of dental practitioners per head of population at 1 dentist per 35,259* population, but still significantly higher than the world average (1: 62,595).
LLL in Bangladesh
The project, called the ‘Bangladesh Dental Society Health Awareness Programme', led by local FDI National Liaison Officer Dr Emdadul Haque, seeks to educate and train school teachers to facilitate oral health care in schools. It also provides oral health education among primary school children and motivates them to brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
BDS has also published an Oral Health Education training manual for school teachers and an Oral Health Storybook for children to illustrate the importance of good oral health habits. In addition, BDS dentists from have provided oral health checkups and dental treatment for the schoolchildren.
"It was wonderful opportunity to be in contact with Bangladesh's up and coming dentists and learn from them," said Dr da Silva, interviewed after the event. "Being there and talking to colleagues means learning more about local and national issues, which also translates into more knowledge for FDI.
For example, I already knew that Bangladesh had a high incidence of oral cancer: just over twice the world average for men and more than five times the world average for women***. It seems that the local custom of chewing tobacco could be among the causes."
FDI presence and support have a huge impact and play a key role in enhancing the credibility of the local national dental association among major stakeholders. FDI has the capacity integrate and unify: it is far more powerful than we sometimes think it is!"
*Oral Health Atlas, 2007 data.
**World Bank classification.
***Men: 13.4 : 100,000 pop (world average 6.3; women: 16.8 : 100,000 (world average 3.2) – source: Oral Health Atlas, 2002 data.