FDI Addresses Key Oral Health Policies at WHO Assembly

Dentistry Today


As the World Health Organization (WHO) held its 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva last month, representatives of the FDI World Dental Federation attended to address 3 key policy issues: antimicrobial resistance (AMR), noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and the agenda for sustainable development.

First, the FDI urged all governments to consult with national dental associations in developing their AMR national action plans. Highlighting 3 main activities in AMR, the FDI reported on its collaboration with member associations following a survey carried out about the existence of national-level AMR guidelines. The FDI is now processing that data to develop recommendations on AMR for the oral health profession.

Also, the FDI discussed health workforce education and AMR control. The representatives noted that the organization remains ready to join efforts to improve awareness and understanding of AMR through effective communication, education, and training. A forum on antimicrobial stewardship will be offered at the World Dental Congress, followed by a report, to further raise awareness on matters related to oral health.

However, the FDI is disappointed that oral health has disappeared from the outputs and budget lines of the WHO program budget for 2018-2019. The organization is concerned about the mixed messaging from WHO and the United Nations (UN). The UN has communicated its long-term ambitions for oral health and recognized the value of a common approach to address oral diseases and NCDs, yet WHO hasn’t assigned funding for oral health in its own budget.

In response, the FDI is calling for the prevention of oral disease in the context of NCD control and prevention to be on the agenda of and declaration from the 2018 UN General Assembly on NCDs; and for a Global Oral Health Action Plan to be part of the NCD initiative and be framed in terms of the contribution of oral health to Sustainable Development Goal 3, related to health and well-being.

The FDI noted the absence of oral health in both the report on the progress of in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the World Health Statistics 2017. This can be attributed to the lack of indicators for oral health up until now, the FDI reported, but this is about to change soon.

Following the adoption of a definition of oral health at the last General Assembly, the FDI is now developing a measurement tool to monitor oral health outcomes. It will share its results with WHO when they become available to find a way to integrate oral health into the 2030 agenda and its related Sustainable Development Goals.

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