OHWG Report 2017

The WFPHA Oral Health Working Group (OHWG) considers all aspects of oral health and aims to influence policies on dental public health.

The OHWG has put into place several important initiatives in 2017. Last year WFPHA governing council expressed its appreciation for the incredible work of the OHWG and its effort in linking dental public health and the Global Charter for the Public’s Health.

The OHWG actively participated in the WCPH in April 2017 with the World Leadership Dialogue “Universal dental care provision – will it really improve oral health?”. The dialogue explored how the Global Charter can be used strategically
to promote global oral health with multi-sectoral partners in integrative approaches. Speakers elaborated on universal oral health provision and integration of oral health in primary care with tangible examples and key solutions, including Regional Oral Health Centers (ROHCs). Set up of ROHCs remains one of the main group goal for the next year. Additionally, the poster on the oral health mapping survey was presented during the Congress and received positive feedback.

In April 2017, the ‘Call to exempt tax on dental supplies and equipment for infection control and prevention’ proposed by the Oral Health Working Group was approved by the WFPHA GA. 1 To respond to this urgent need of safe dentistry in all countries, the WFPHA urges in this call to implement safe, available and affordable dentistry practice and to implement tax exemption for dental supplies and equipment for infection control and prevention. A statement on the same topic was added among the official documents of the 2017 WHA. 2 This shall be the beginning of a process embracing the development of protecting strategies providing integrated preventive solutions. The next steps will be to get manufactures involved in the process and to set up a high-level commission, related to the OHWG, working to ensure tax exemption for infection control supply and equipment for dental service with a special focus on low income countries.

In addition, Hyewon Lee, Marta Lomazzi, Aimee Lee and Raman Bedi, from the OHWG, published an article on ‘Global Oral Health in the Framework of Global Charter for the Public’s Health’ in the Journal of Public Health Policy. Advocating for better DPH remains a priority for the group and the policy paper collects all OHWG policies developed up to now and outlines how they will be re-shaped under
the Global Charter for the Public’s Health functions and services. This paper highlights links and risk factors that oral health has in common with other public health challenges and propose effective solutions.

May 2018 will represent the end of the second term of the group. Elections have already run for the Chair and vice-Chair positions. Recognizing the importance of integrating the next generation, the group has decided to elect a young co-Chair. Raman Bedi has been confirmed as Chair and will be assisted by Hyewon Lee as young co-Chair. Myron Allukian and Kenneth Eaton will continue with their role of vice-Chairs.

The OHWG is also continuing its successful activities from last year, including its partnership with the Advanced Dental Leadership program developed by the Global Child Dental Fund, and the Global Survey to determine dental public health capacity globally.

A PDF version of this report is available here.

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