FDI World Dental Federation launches Guide to Advocacy on oral health and NCDs

FDI launched its publication ‘Oral health and the United Nations Political Declaration on NCDs: a guide to advocacy' on 24 February during a special session on NCDs, hosted by the American Dental Association (ADA) in its Chicago headquarters.

The Guide provides FDI national dental associations with the necessary information and tools to follow up their government's commitments on NCD prevention and control. It further provides a timetable for their exchanges with policy makers and government officials and a blueprint for evaluating policy and monitoring progress, based on suggested oral health targets and indicators.

Speakers at the session included FDI Executive Director Dr Jean-Luc Eiselé, Science Committee member Prof Harry-Sam Selikowitz, and Dr Julian Fisher FDI Associate Director Science & Professional Affairs.

An opportunity Saluting the ADA as "the inspiration for much of FDI activity in NCDs over the past 8 or so months", Dr Eiselé characterized the Guide as a means for NDAs to demonstrate their understanding of the Political Declaration, their intention to hold government accountable and their willingness to contribute their knowledge and experience. He pointed out that the Guide contained no stated position on the ‘communicability' of oral diseases.

"FDI seized the opportunity to raise the profile of oral diseases, advocate for better oral health at a global level and place oral health on the political and development agenda." According to Dr Eiselé "the issue of oral health and NCDs is an opportunity to increase the visibility of the dental profession at the highest levels of government."

A call to action "We know that the epidemiological and economic consequences of oral diseases in developing and developed countries have not been fully translated into a global response proportionate to the magnitude of their impacts," noted Dr Harry-Sam Selikowitz in his presentation ‘NCDs, oral health: a common response'.

The Guide, he said, was a call to action, a briefing and a practical tool, containing key messages to deliver to governments. "There must be an understanding that oral diseases cause suffering and pain, disruption of daily life, and therefore present an economic burden to society." The Common Risk Factor Approach Dr Selikowitz further highlighted the Common Risk Factor Approach (CRFA) in the fight against NCDs whereby "promoting general health by controlling a small number of risk factors may have a major impact on a large number of diseases at a lower cost than disease specific approaches. Decision-makers and individuals will be more readily influenced by measures directed at preventing heart diseases, obesity, stroke, cancers, diabetes and dental caries than if disease-specific recommendations are made," concluded Dr Selikowitz.