Dhaka, 27 April, 2016: A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO and Bangladesh Dental Society (BDS) to eliminate “Mercury Dental Amalgam” from Dentistry Sector in Bangladesh by 2018. The signing event took place on 26 April, 2016 at BDS office (8/2. 3rd floor, Motaleb Tower, Paribag, Dhaka-1204). The MOU was signed with the purpose of promoting and policy advocacy for adaptation and institutional initiatives for “Mercury-Free Dentistry”.
On behalf of two organizations MOU was signed by Secretary General Dr. Md. Humayun Kabir Bulbul , Bangladesh Dental Society and Siddika Sultana, Executive Director of ESDO. It represents a shared understanding among the Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO and Bangladesh Dental Society (BDS). Mr. Syed Marghub Murshed, Former Secretary, Govt. of Bangladesh and Chairperson of ESDO, Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Secretary General of ESDO, Prof. Dr. Md. Abul Kashem, President of Bangladesh Dental Society and the other executive members of the organizations were attended the ceremony.
On that event, BDS expressed their thankfulness to ESDO for making them a part of this movement. BDS leadership concern about the amalgam impacts and said, Mercury causes long term neurological problem in human body. In Bangladesh, the waste disposal system is not good as well as safe; so that, the environment is also getting victimized to this toxicity. They provided may options of mercury amalgam alternatives, like Zirconium which is completely mercury free and long lasting. They added that, dental amalgam is not only the source of Mercury. There are many other sources. So, people should become aware of it. Mercury amalgam is usually preferred by poor patients as it is cost effective. So the alternative source should also be made cost effective.
Prof. Abul Kashem, President, BDS expressed his strong willingness to drive mercury consumption level to zero in order to make mercury amalgam free Bangladesh. He suggested to raise awareness among medical teachers, practitioners and stakeholders about the harmful effects of mercury.
According to Mr. Syed Marghub Murshed, Former Secretary, Govt. of Bangladesh and Chairperson of ESDO, use of mercury causes harmful impact on the environment, public health and aesthetics. He gave his valuable suggestion that not to rush, but move pragmatically and work together to make this initiative happen, because their participation is a big investment to this movement.
Dr. Shahriar Hossain, shared his miserable experience as he is one of the worst sufferers of mercury poisoning and expressed his expectation to BDS to work hand in hand for making a stop to this toxic element in dental amalgam.
Dr. Humayun Kabir Bulbul,Secretary General of Bangladesh Dental Society told that, earlier they were not aware of the harmful effects of mercury. It took time to realize the importance of the initiatives taken by ESDO. He also gave words to work with responsibility on this after the signing of MOU. He emphasized that, it will not be possible to make this movement successful without the cooperation of both of these organizations.
Dr. Shawon, Assistant Secretary (Scientific Affair) took the point of the cost effectiveness of Mercury dental amalgam. He told that, though white amalgam is expensive, but the patient treated with mercury amalgam is suffering from various neurological disturbances, treatment of which is expensive. Again, if we squeeze this out into environment, this is polluting soil and ultimately enters into the food chain. He emphasized on including the topic of mercury free dentistry into the National Curriculum and also in the syllabus of primary education in order to speed up the process.
In that case, Mirza Arif, Joint Secretary General added that, this topic is already involved in National Curriculum but the Curriculum is not published yet. He told that, people should make a compromise in using mercury free dental amalgam for their well-being.
At the end of the event, all the members of BDS and ESDO promised to work together to ensure mercury free dentistry and ultimately a mercury free environment.
The objectives behind this signing are followed: