LAHORE    -    President Dr Arif Alvi has stressed the need for focusing on prevention instead of waiting for the diseases.

“We do not care about preventive measures. We wait for the diseases and then look toward treatment. People want to know about dental diseases,” Dr Alvi said while addressing inaugural session of first International Dental Conference as chief guest at Expo Centre on Thursday. University of Health Sciences (UHS) has arranged the three day conference with the theme “Collaborate, Innovate, Cure”. Earlier, the President laid the foundation of the Global Grand Dental Health and Education Alliance and was nominated its first Chairman. He also inaugurated dental exhibition at the centre.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid, King Edward Medical University Vice Chancellor Prof Khalid Masood Gondal, UHS VC Prof Javaid Akram, Fatima Jinnah Medical University VC Prof Amer Zaman, Medical Superintendent Dental Hospital Dr Asim Farooqi, ambassadors of different countries, faculty members and large number of doctors attended the inaugural session.

Dr Arif Alvi, who himself is a prominent dental surgeon, urged the healthcare providers to sensitize people about precautionary measures to avoid dental diseases. He said that 90 per cent of the dental diseases could be avoided only through precautions. He said that the beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used miswak regularly. “There are a number of hadiths about benefits of miswak. We can save children and people from many dental diseases by promoting the culture of cleaning teeth regularly with tooth brushes”, he said.

He urged dentists to spread awareness about dental hygiene and preventive measures, instead of only extending treatment of diseases. “Your target should be addressing the issues before the dental problems start, as a little dental care can save people from getting the disease,” he said. He stressed the need of compulsory six month on job training of all dental surgeons at public sector hospitals.

Congratulating UHS for holding the conference, he said that a lot of work was needed in the health sector, especially in the dentistry field. He said that dentistry education was not a separate subject till the 1990s, but now several dental colleges in the country were producing doctors every year. He said that dentists and doctors should serve people at least for five or six years after their education. “Nation has invested in you and it is your responsibility to pay back. This education should not be used as a mean to get good matches”, he said while referring to the female doctors quitting the profession after marriages.

Recalling memories of his Indian visit during 1980s, he said that Pakistan was far ahead in dental education than in the neighboring country. “Indian journals published my research papers which unfortunately could not get space in Pakistan”, he said. “I prepared draft of first dental act and the same was forwarded to the then Prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo. This draft would definitely be safe somewhere”, he said.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was an example of service to people, and that was why he was living a satisfied life. “Nations start building themselves when they start thinking of uplifting the weak and poor segment of the society,” he added. He said that Pakistani people follow principles of peace and hospitality and everyone here talked about peace in the region.

Dr Yasmin Rashid promised measures for promoting dental teaching besides ensuring quality education at dental institutions.

Prof Javed Akram said that first biotech laboratory would be set up in Jhelum. He urged the President to use his influence for constitution of Pakistan Dental Council.