M a r k e t N e w s

Strategies to advance oral health in Africa

Posted on : Saturday, 17th September 2016

 Oral health in Africa has just received a second boost with the August 2016 launch of the World Health Organization’s African region strategy, based on four clear objectives. This follows its publication Promoting Oral Health in Africa, launched earlier this year, which proposes proven, aff ordable and feasible interventions to address daily oral health needs in the African region.

 
The first boost to oral health came in 2013, when the FDI launched its own Strategy for Africa, founded on its special area of competence training and capacity building within its unique network of Africa-based national dental associations (NDAs). In this way, it helps them acquire and develop leadership and management skills, establishing and reinforcing their credibility and supporting their eff ective peer-to-peer exchange of information. This, in turn, makes them stronger oral health advocates in their home countries.
 
Thus far, the FDI has held two training sessions, the first in 2015. This Level 1 training focused on internal leadership to secure the long-term viability and credibility of the NDAs. A four-day Level 2 Leadership Training Workshop took place in Geneva in Switzerland in February. Level 2 training concentrates on communication, advocacy and fundraising to ensure NDAs acquire key skills to make them effective oral health advocates nationally and regionally.
 
WHO strategy
 
At the workshop, Dr Benoît Varenne, Regional Adviser on Oral Health in the Non-Communicable Diseases Cluster at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, highlighted how NDAs could become involved in WHO activities and engage with their local ministers of health and chief dental officers. In this way, they can ensure their voice is heard when local policies are being formulated. He also addressed what they can do to influence the process and aid in policy implementation. The current new WHO strategy is based on four objectives.
 
These are: (a) to strengthen national advocacy, leadership, multisectoral action and partnerships for integrated prevention and control of oral disease; (b) to reduce common risk factors of oral disease and non-communicable diseases, promote oral and general health and ensure regular and general use of appropriate fluorides; (c) to strengthen health system capacity for integrated prevention and control of oral disease; and (d) to improve integrated surveillance of oral disease, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and operational research.
 
The WHO strategy was launched at the Regional Committee for Africa meeting held from 19 to 23 August in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Both the FDI and WHO strongly encouraged African NDA leaders to view the meeting as an opportunity to brief their national delegation on the current national oral disease burden, help prepare a national statement, including challenges and, if possible, join the delegation. Initial reports suggest that a number of NDAs heeded the call.
 
The FDI joined forces with member NDA the Ethiopian Dental Professionals Association to give a joint statement in support of the oral health strategy and call upon WHO partners and member states to take action for its eff ective implementation, including resource mobilisation.
 
FDI African Regional Dental Congress
 
Meanwhile, in a boost to its own ambitions in the African region, the FDI and its member dental association in Morocco, L’Association Marocaine de Prévention Bucco-Dentaire, will be organising the first FDI African Regional Dental Congress, to be held in Marrakesh from 27 to 29 April 2017. The scientific programme will include a dedicated FDI session. Morocco is particularly well located to host attendees from neighbouring countries, as well as countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and southern Europe. WHO will no doubt be on the invitation list.

Source : www.dental-tribune.com
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