THE HISTORY OF SAPPORO DENTAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL

Bangladesh is a developing country in South Asia with a population of about 150 million and an alarmingly inadequate number of dentists. The ratio of dentist-patient being one of the lowest in the world. The scarcity of funds and skilled manpower in Bangladesh are notable factors to hinder the development of the health sector. It is proven over the years that it is almost impossible for the Government alone to implement a well-structured health policy for its huge population. In this context, it became imperative for the Government to consider alternative approaches to cope up with this basic human need. Considering the magnitude of the problem, the Government has been encouraging the private sector to share the burden and help the improvement of the health care services in the country. Responding to the Government policy many non-Government medical colleges and hospitals were established in the past decades and the setting up of a good number is also underway. However, the expansion in the area of dentistry is still far below the desired level.

The establishment of Sapporo Dental College for uplifting the quality of dental education and service in a true sense was the brainchild of Prof. Dr. Mohiuddin Ahmed. The need for a private dental college was initially felt while Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Hannan were students in Dhaka Dental College- the only Dental institution in the country in the late nineteen seventies. During that period the Oral Health care delivery system was in its primary stage and there was a substantial lack of quality dental education in the country.

The journey between Sapporo and Dhaka began back in 1983 with the enrollment of Prof. Dr. M.A.Hannan, _rst Bangladeshi student enrolled in Hokkaido University, School of Dentistry under Prof. Jun Ishikawa. The next Bangladeshi student to follow was Prof. Dr. Mohiuddin Ahmed under Prof. Masaaki Kawamura. During his study in graduate school, Dr. Mohiuddin discussed his ideas for the improvement of oral health service in Bangladesh and the dream of establishing a private dental college with Professor Kawamura. After many hours of elaborate discussion Professor Kawamura _nally endorsed the idea. Later under the planning of Prof. Kawamura and Dr. Mohiuddin, Bangladeshi students were enrolled in deferent departments to form a team of manpower essential for establishing the dream institution- “Sapporo Dental College”. Other Professors of Hokkaido University were also very sympathetic and o_ered their wholehearted support for the realization of the project. They were Prof. Akira Amemiya, Prof. Hirokata Shimokobe, Prof. Yasunori Totsuka, and Prof. Nobue Inoue, along with numerous well-wishers and friends.

 

The process of implementation of the dream began with the establishment of “Sapporo Dental Care” in 1993 with an aim to provide service to the patient in the multidisciplinary team approach.

Dr. Mohiuddin Ahmed and Dr. M. A. Hannan _rst started working in the clinic and gradually Dr. M.A. Sikder, Dr. M. U. Chowdhury, and Dr. Asad-uz-Zaman joined the team of “Sapporo Dental care” after completing their graduate school at Hokkaido University. In order to make the services available to a greater number of people, other dentists competent in different fields of specialization joined their hands to this team notably Dr. Abul Hassan Mahmud and Dr. Lamiya Chowdhury. The team worked relentlessly for the realization of their prime objective for many years. Eventually, the concept started taking the real shape with the natural transformation from “Sapporo Dental Care” into “Sapporo Dental College and Hospital” in the year 2000.

 

The main goal for establishing this institution was to promote the level of dental education and health care by reducing the consistent shortage of well-trained oral health manpower in the country with a view to developing oral health care facilities in Bangladesh in line with global standards of scientific and technological development and proficiency achieved in this field. In

order to achieve that goal a non-profitable charitable organization was formed named “The Foundation For Health Education, Service and Research” and the Sapporo Dental College and

Hospital (SDCH) was the first project under this organization. Some eminent personalities and professionals of the country who directly contributed and continuously guided for the realization of the SDCH dream are Mr. Nurul H Khan, a former Secretary, Govt. of Bangladesh and Chairman of the Governing Body since the inception of the institution, Prof. S. A. Ashraf, a renowned General Surgeon of the Subcontinent and Founder Principal, Mr. M. Asafuddowlah, former Secretary and a distinguished personality in cultural areas, Mr. Zakir Ahmed Khan, former Secretary, Professor Dr. Mesbah Uddin Ahmed, a renowned Scientist and former VC of Jagannath University, Late A. N. M. Yusuf, Late Hedayat Ahmed, former Secretaries, Late Sha_qul Aziz Mukul, an eminent journalist, and Late Dr. Aref Masud, member, FHESR.

A significant contribution is also being received from Dr. Mesbah Ul Haque, Dr. Mohammad Nayeem, and Mr. Ashadul Islam, members of FHESR, since the initiation of the project’s formal procedure.

Since its inception, Sapporo Dental College is making a continuous endeavor to make it a center

of excellence for dental education and clinical training for undergraduate dental students and

had plans for further expansion to start post-graduate programs and simultaneous the introduction of advanced clinical training. The fact which was once a dream now becomes the reality by starting FCPS training as the first private dental institution of the country with recognition from BCPS.

The institution is the pioneer of community-based dental research aimed at improving the oral health status of the rural people in Bangladesh, and continuously setting up programme to serve the underprivileged. The Institute has successfully accomplished many community dental service projects at the grass-root level, among them the most recent one was supported by the Embassy of Japan. Besides, nationwide dental and medical camps are continuously performed to extend service to the remote areas of the country where dental and medical services are scarce and almost non-existent.