OHWG Statement at the World Health Assembly – May 2017

OHWG Statement at the 2017 World Health Assembly

World Health Assembly, Geneva, 22-31 May 2017

Call to exempt tax on dental supplies and equipment for infection control and prevention

Chairperson, Excellences, and Distinguished Colleagues,

WFPHA is an NGO composed of multidisciplinary national public health associations with an oral health group.

The WHO Global Oral Health Programme has worked hard to put oral health high on the health agenda of policy and decision-makers in the world and has emphasized the importance of an integrated disease prevention approach. Universal oral health care provision is an essential goal in public health to increase the access to appropriate and timely oral health care for all. However, the quality and safety of healthcare must be assured regardless of various global healthcare settings to achieve the basic principle of health care: do no harm.

The WFPHA OHWG is aware that people in poor and marginalized communities, especially in low-income countries, may not be able to access or afford dental care which is provided to internationally acceptable standards of infection control. Policymakers and corporates need to work together to ensure safe dental treatment available and affordable for people from all income levels.

Breakdowns of infection prevention and control can occur when proper sterilization and monitoring fail or unsafe injection practices occur. While science, evidence and open resources are available, actual changes happen only with coordinate efforts and political interests to connect those available resources. This approach fitting with WFPHA Global Charter for the Public’s Health Prevention and Promotion core services as well with the good Governance and Advocacy enabler functions.

The WFPHA therefore urges for tax exemption for dental supplies and equipment for infection control and prevention. Safe dentistry should be available and affordable. Local and national governments should provide practical resources to healthcare facilities that provide dental services in partnership with international organizations and corporate partners. This shall be the beginning of a process embracing the development of protecting strategies providing integrated preventive solutions.

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