Recognising the growing importance to enhance oral health since young, the Government through its Primary Oral Healthcare scheme aims to delivering quality targeted dental care to ensure optimal oral health outcomes. With the same aim in mind, the IMU School of Dentistry community organised its annual Oral Health Week (OHW) at its campus in Bukit Jalil. The idea of this student led dental oral healthy activity aims at actively raise oral health awareness and promote the importance of self-care in the dental context. The main aim of this week is to promote oral health awareness, oral health care, and oral disease prevention towards the IMU community initially and subsequently, the general public. We also aim to reinforce proper oral hygiene habits in the community, to promote the importance of regular dental visits as well as to exercise the oral health promotion initiatives in Malaysia. Our theme for this year’s Oral Health Week was ‘Attack on Tartar’. This year’s theme stems from the oral health promotion initiatives in Malaysia with the objectives of educating the general public from the primary sector and fostering lifelong good oral health. The two-day event organised by Year 1 and Year 2 dentistry students of School of Dentistry had an estimated 500 participants on both days. The participants comprise of students from different programmes and cohorts, lecturers, and staff of IMU, along with patients at IMU’s Healthcare Centres.
The guests of honour for this year’s Oral Health Week were Yang Berusaha Dr Norliza binti Mohamed (Acting Principal Director of Oral Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia) and Dr Mustaffa bin Jaapar (Senior Principal Assistant Director, Principal Director of Oral Health Office, Oral Health Programme, Ministry of Health Malaysia). We would also like to express our gratitude to Prof Allan Pau, Dean, School of Dentistry and Dr Sobia Bilal, OHW2019 Advisor, for their unlimited support and guidance. The highlights of OHW 2019 included six educational and interactive booths, three participating sponsor booths (Pahang Pharmacy / Oradex, Johnson & Johnson / Listerine, The Body Shop) a face painting booth and a photo booth. Each of these booths conveyed important health knowledge (excluding The Body Shop and photo booth). Alongside OHW 2019, Care2Brush project also had a booth to promote oral health awareness and give back to the society. There were also a dance, band and diabolo performances delivered by students from different programmes and cohorts of IMU. We were very grateful for the wonderful companies that offered their aid into this event. This year’s sponsors in terms of cash, vouchers and products sponsors were Altis Pro, Food Panda, Lee Farmasi, Medifood, Medi-life, Mikromedik, MSIG, Oradex, Premier Dental Sdn Bhd, Printcheap, Superb Impression Creationz, and The Body Shop. The success of OHW was credited largely to our sponsors for their financial support to the event. Having taken up the role as the President of Oral Health Week 2019, I had the opportunity to engage with many members of the university community – students, faculties and staff, as well as external parties – and I was moved by their passion, pride and intellect as healthcare professionals advocating dental public health.
The organising team faced many challenges throughout the preparations for OHW, yet I am grateful that our Team has come a long way, tackling different difficulties and trying their best to ensure that all the subtle details are handled professionally. We also experienced renewed strength in the support from our juniors who were only 2 months into their first year. The momentum evident in the success of OHW can also be seen in the initiative of including the general public and patients at the IMU Clinics in addition to the student body who participated in the educational and interactive booths, thus reinforcing the idea of health promotion. Ultimately, Oral Health Week 2019 put a mark on the awareness of Oral Health in IMU.