The World Health Organization has just published the ‘Political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases’, a report by the Director General, 11th January 2022.
The Report includes an updated draft Global Oral Health Strategy WHA74.5 (Annex 3) which suggests improving political and resource commitment to oral health by including a guaranteed minimum share of public health expenditure exclusively for national oral health programmes.
There is increased emphasis on the following:
- Social and commercial determinants.
- Limiting free sugars and public health initiatives to reduce consumption as well as encouraging food/beverage industry to reformulate/reduce sugar/reduce portion sizes and change consumer purchasing to low sugar products.
- Optimising digital technology
Water fluoridation is included as an essential prevention method and cost-effective community-based method to prevent dental caries where appropriate, as well as topical fluoride application and the use of quality fluoride toothpaste.
An additional Strategic Objective has been added regarding the Health workforce and developing innovative workforce models to include all oral health professionals, community based health workers and other health professionals. It suggests that professional oral health education must include robust training in health promotion and disease prevention and emphasises the importance of inter-professional communication.
Principal 3 of the draft strategy also highlights the need for resource and workforce planning (education and training) to align with public health goals.
Principal 5: Tailored oral health interventions across the life course outlines the need for essential oral health care to be integrated in relevant health matters with a focus on healthier eating, tobacco cessation, alcohol reduction and self-care as age-appropriate, evidence-based interventions, which is in line with National Oral Health Policy 'Smile agus Sláinte'.
The draft strategy states that new oral health research agendas should include implementation science, which aims to directly translate research findings into practice, and that there is a need for collaboration between Government Departments to address oral health care and environmental sustainability.
The WHO states that it will continue to work with WHO Collaborating Centres.
An exciting time ahead for Oral Health in Ireland! We look forward to the final strategy WHA75 in 2022. You can read the full report HERE