Ammar N.H. Albujeer
Department of Community Oral Health, School of Dentistry, Shahid Beheshti University for Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Nab’a Al-Hayat Foundation for Medical Sciences and Health Care, Najaf, Iraq.
As the Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates, its disproportionate impacts affect all aspects of the community and life. The dental schools and dentistry profession were in the front line of these changes and bear a large portion of this crisis.  These burdens added to dental education in Iraq in addition to its current challenges. [2,3] Until October 28th, 2020, Iraq registered 463,951 cases, and 10,770 persons died from COVID-19, which 2.3% from the infected cases and 6% of the death cases were dentists.  Upon the WHO recommendations along with this high mortality rate made the policymakers in Iraqi MOH and MOHESR take the decisions for national wide lockdown and closure of dental schools in Iraq and minimize the dentists’ presence in public hospitals and dental centers to 25%, and just for emergency patients need since March 1st, 2020. This decision affected the 5th stage students which had already graduated in September 2020 from taking enough clinical training and patient management, while the successful e-learning coverage the theoretical educational sessions well. As it’s impossible to certain the end of this pandemic and this will be a real threat for the new graduated dentist’s skills and knowledge to manage patients, the policymakers must change the dental education program in Iraq and add the (Exit Interview) for all graduated students which would make a need assessment for the real need, and design an intensive course for them upon on their needs that would help dental schools and educators to ensure the dental education quality assurance. This intensive course could be like the General Practice Residency (GPR) which is accredited in the USA.  This model could be considered in other affected countries which has the same lockdown and closed policy as Iraq.
- Machado, R.A., Bonan, P.R.F., Perez, D.E.D.C. and MartelliJÚnior, H., 2020. COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on dental education: discussing current and future perspectives. Brazilian oral research, 34.
- Khoshnevisan, M.H., Albujeer, A.N., Taher, A.A. and Almahafdha, A., 2017. Dental education in Iraq: issues, challenges, and future. Journal of Contemporary Medical Sciences, 3(11), pp.260-263.
- Albujeer, A.N., Khami, M.R. and Almahafdha, A., 2020. Private Dental Schools in Iraq: A Real Threat to the Dental Profession. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 49(1), pp.201-202
- Statistics of COVID-19, 2020; Ministry of Health, Iraq.
- Lau, A., Dodson, T.B., Sonis, S.T., and Kaban, L.B., 2015. An outcomes study of 40 years of graduates of a general practice dental residency. Journal of dental education, 79(8), pp.888-896.