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WHO's World Health Assembly issues historic resolution including oral health in global health agenda

FDI World Dental Federation, International Association for Dental Research support resolution

June 03, 2021

By David Burger

The World Health Assembly approved May 27 what the FDI World Dental Federation calls a “landmark” resolution that puts oral health back on the global health agenda.

The resolution recognizes the global burden of oral diseases and their associations with other conditions, urging member states to address shared risk factors, enhance the professional capacity of oral health professionals to deliver consistent and quality care and to include oral health in universal health coverage benefit packages.

“The ADA is pleased that the World Health Organization recognizes that oral health is integral to systemic health around the world,” said ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D. “We look forward to being an active, collaborative stakeholder in striving to achieve the goals set forth by the WHO’s World Health Assembly.”

The World Health Assembly is the forum through which the World Health Organization is governed by its 194 member states.

The resolution also asks the WHO to develop a global strategy and action plan on oral health with 2030 targets, among other follow-up actions.

The resolution, in addition, recommends a shift towards a preventive approach to care that includes promotion of oral health within the family, schools and workplaces that includes timely, comprehensive and inclusive care within the primary health-care system.

Sri Lanka and other member states first put forward the resolution to the World Health Organization executive board in January.

The FDI World Dental Federation, along with the International Association for Dental Research, delivered a statement supporting the resolution.

“Oral diseases affect almost half of the world’s population and are strongly associated with other [noncommunicable diseases],” according to the statement. “Optimal oral health for all will only be achieved if the response is integrated within the [noncommunicable disease] and [universal health care] agendas.”