Minister of Health Ali Al-Obaidi declared Sunday Kuwait as a Zika virus-free country. Speaking at the opening session of the Fourth Kuwait Dental Administration Conference, Al-Obaidi confirmed that no Zika-infection case was reported in Kuwait so far.
He added the ministry is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the virus from reaching Kuwait. WHO has recently declared a global health emergency over the rapid spread of Zika in the Americas as the outbreak has coincided with an increase in head and brain malformations among newborns especially in Brazil.
Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. People with Zika virus disease usually have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites. The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
Meanwhile, the minister unveiled that 240 dental clinics would start operation in three health centers soon in addition to 140 others in Sabah Al-Ahmad specialized center which would be inaugurated in 2017.
He noted that there is a great cooperation with the Ministry of Public Works to equip the dental clinics at Jaber Hospital and prepare them for operation in the near future.
The ministry is doing all in power to provide integrated health services through the primary health centers nationwide, so it aims to open dental clinics in every health center, he clarified. He revealed that the ministry has increased the number of dental clinics in primary health center from 134 to 311 in during the period from 2000 to 2014.
He added the ministry has also equipped dental clinics with the latest-of-the-art technology for diagnosing and treatment. Al-Obaidi underlined that the state is keen on providing school students, people with special needs and senior people with high-quality dental treatment.
There are 220 at schools and mobile dental clinics for this purpose, he said. Kuwait also has increased the number of dentists dispatched abroad for post-graduate studies, especially through the Kuwaiti Dentistry Board Program in Ireland, he said.
He, furthermore, pointed out that a post-graduate dentistry studies program has been launched in cooperation with the Faculty of Dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in which 300 Kuwaiti dentists had studied.
Moreover, over 400 Kuwaitis have been sent to study dentistry abroad during the period from 2000 to 2014. The ministry has offered training programs for 1,026 dentists till 2014, added the minister.
In the meantime, head of the organizing committee of the conference and Director of the Dental Administration at the Ministry of Health Dr. Sabiha Al-Mutawa said 18 keynote speakers would deliver lectures in the conference which will also host 18 diverse workshops.
The event also attracts nearly 2,400 dentists from Kuwait and other world countries. Al-Mutawa stated that this is a biennial conference which goes with the mission of the Ministry of Health to update and upgrade the knowledge and skills of all involved with dentistry.
The edition is themed "Our Vision For A Better Tomorrow" and it tackles several dental topics ranging from dental marketing, different aspects of clinical dentistry, laboratory technology, cone beam computed technology, behavior management and basic life support techniques.