The FDI World Dental Federation submitted a statement to the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizing the need to continue equitable access to oral healthcare during the pandemic as the WHO convened a special virtual session of its executive board on October 5 and 6 to discuss the response to COVID-19.
In its statement, FDI said that “the burden on health systems, caused by unnecessary and avoidable dental visits, should be reduced by utilizing every opportunity to reinforce oral health promotion and prevention messages.”
Further, the FDI said, “equitable access to essential oral healthcare services must continue” to support universal health coverage and prevent even larger burdens on health systems in the future.
In many countries, the FDI said, national dental associations work with their governments to enact guidelines and ensure the protection of patients and staff from virus transmission so oral healthcare services can be delivered safely.
Additionally, the FDI said that further research “is of paramount importance so that recommendations evolve according to emerging evidence to ensure that the safest protocols are implement.”
The organization said that it contributes to the base of evidence by acting as a data hub and by sharing guidelines and research from all over the world on its website. The FDI also said that it will soon publish the results of a survey of 80 countries defining common strategies that have been effective in preventing and controlling COVID-19 in dental settings.
The FDI believes these results will help support the continued and safe functioning of healthcare systems. They also will be valuable in informing the work of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, the FDI continued, which is reviewing the WHO’s coordinated international response to COVID-19.
“Only by working together in solidarity can we hope to find effective solutions for this public health threat as quickly as possible,” the statement said.