Friday, March 11, 2011

MBBS, BDS courses to include tobacco control?

For the first time, India is planning to introduce "tobacco control and cessation" into the curriculum of Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). Dental Council of India (DCI) in its last executive committee meeting has accepted the proposal, and the final approval is now pending with the Union health ministry. A draft syllabus on tobacco control and cessation in dental clinics for incorporation in the BDS curriculum is also ready.

A ministry note says, "dental practitioners are the first point of contact for patients of pre-cancer lesions and oral cancer, besides discolouration of teeth and gum diseases. However, the existing curriculum of BDS does not address issues relating to tobacco use and tobacco cessation adequately."

It adds, "DCI is seeking approval of the ministry for including tobacco control in the syllabus of community dentistry. The recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) revealed that one-third adults in India consume tobacco of which 26% consume smokeless tobacco. India shares the highest burden of oral cancer in the world 80%-90%."

Sources said the MCI is also considering introducing tobacco control and cessation as part of the MBBS course. The plan is to introduce tobacco as a subject in the courses like pharmacology, community medicine, psychiatry, surgery, biochemistry and pathology. In a letter to Union Health Secretary K. Chandramouli, DCI's officiating secretary Col. (Retired) Dr. S. K. Ojha on February 7, 2011, wrote, "The ministry is requested to convey its approval to add tobacco in the syllabus of community dentistry at the earliest." The Union health ministry believes that 40% of India's health problems stem from tobacco use.

Source: The Times of India, March 11, 2011
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