It’s the beginning of the year and IMU Cares, the office of the Community Engagement of the International Medical University (IMU) got on to a bright start and starting early too, for healthier mouths and teeth! IMU Cares had reached out to the PPR Pantai Ria community in late 2021 to plan ahead for the children to begin the new year with a bright start just before school reopened. The PPR Pantai Ria community is located in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur and is only a few kilometres away from the IMU main campus in Bukit Jalil. An oral health carnival was held at Block D of the PPR Pantai Ria on Sunday, 9 January 2022. This event was jointly organised with the office of the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai and attracted over a hundred children and their families. With the various booths set up for fun and games to help educate the community on oral health, by mid-afternoon, the number of participants had swelled up, all eager to be part of this carnival. The children had not only received a dental check-up and learnt how to care for their mouths and teeth, they also walked away with goodies. The oral health education and dental screening were conducted by a dedicated IMU team of dental lecturers, staff and students from the School of Dentistry, IMU. The presence of the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, Yang Berhormat Tuan Fahmi Fadzil lent further encouragement to the members of the community. He expressed his appreciation and thanks to IMU for its proactivity reaching out to the community on this important health issue.
He explained, “my hope for the young children today is to understand the needs and importance of our oral health and why we need to take good care of our teeth. Poor oral hygiene can also be linked to poor eating habits lacking in nutritional intake that may eventually lead to diseases that will inconvenience everyone at a later stage.”
Prof Khoo Suan Phaik, who is the Dean for Community Engagement and also a dental specialist highlighted that, “Through fun and games we hope to drive home the point that practicing good habits for their oral health should start early from a young age.” She added that the activities conducted at the carnival is just the beginning of a sustainable journey for oral health planned for the children and that the team is currently developing an innovative way to improve oral hygiene habits among the younger generation through a unique intervention model that would be fun and engaging for them and this would be introduced very soon.
The activities curated for this event are in line with “IMU as the Pulse of the Community” initiative whereby the university continues to reach out to communities to help address health and social issues relevant to communities by building sustainable and transformative change via collaborative partnerships with and for the community.
Written by Dr Leong Hui Yen, Office of Community Engagement at IMU.