WHO World Health Assembly approves ‘historic’ resolution on oral health

WHO resolution oral health
Photo: Alex Maxim 123RF

On the fourth day of the 74th session of the World Health Assembly (held this year from 24 May – 1 June), Member States affirmed their united commitment to oral health. 

Specifically they approved a WHO resolution on oral health that was put forward by Sri Lanka and other Member States at the WHO executive board meeting in January 2021, effectively putting oral health back on the global health agenda.

The resolution recognises 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 (UHC) benefit packages. 

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

The FDI World Dental Federation delivered a statement together with the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) in support of the resolution, a full transcript of which can be read on the FDI website.

The new resolution asks WHO’s director-general for the development of a global strategy, an action plan with 2030 targets and NCD ‘best buys’ on oral health, technical guidance for the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the provision of safe and uninterrupted oral healthcare, together with the recommendation to consider noma as a neglected tropical disease.

FDI encourages Member States and FDI’s network to participate in the expected 2021 consultation processes for the global strategy on oral health and WHO’s Global Oral Health Report to ensure inclusion of missing points in the resolution, such as the need to increase access to affordable fluoridated toothpaste and systemic fluoridation where appropriate.

FDI, together with its members and partners, will continue to monitor and engage in these upcoming developments in alignment with Vision 2030: Delivering Optimal Oral Health for All, a roadmap report that aims to provide comprehensive guidance for an inter-disciplinary response to oral diseases and inequalities over the next decade.

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