December 2010

Volume 27, Issue 4

Editorial - Improvement of global oral health - the leadership role of the World Health Organization

Authors: P.E. Petersen
doi: 10.1922/CDH_2760Petersen05


Progress towards a healthier world requires strong political action, broad participation and sustained advocacy. The World Health Organization Global Oral Health Programme (WHO GOHP) has worked hard over the years to put oral health high on the health agenda of policy and decision makers worldwide. In 2007, the WHO was given a unique mandate for strengthening the work for oral health by its two governing bodies, i.e. the Executive Board, and the World Health Assembly (WHA). A comprehensive report on global oral health was prepared by the Secretariat (WHO GOHP) for the governing bodies, and the World Health Assembly subsequently agreed on a Resolution (WHA.60.17) which reads: “Oral health: action plan for promotion and integrated disease prevention” (Petersen, 2008; Petersen, 2009). This statement is a wide-ranging policy that gives the direction to better oral health of people in the 193 Member States. The WHO statement is an impetus for countries to develop or adjust national oral health programmes, and the policy is a strong support to the global actions carried out by the WHO GOHP over the recent years. The action plan for oral health promotion and integrated disease prevention encompasses several elements. agement of childhood illness and for the reduction of malnutrition and poverty. 10. incorporate an oral health information system into health surveillance plans. 11. strengthen oral health research. 12. address human resources and workforce planning for oral health as part of every plan for health. 13. consider increasing the budgetary provisions that are dedicated to the prevention and control of oral and craniofacial diseases and conditions The Resolution requests the Director-General to: • raise awareness of the global challenges to improving oral health, the specific needs of low-income countries and of poor and disadvantaged population groups ensure that WHO provides advice and technical support to Member States for the development and implementation of oral health programmes continually promote international cooperation and interaction with and among all actors concerned with the implementation of the oral health action plan, including WHO Collaborating Centres and Non-Governmental Organizations communicate to UNICEF and other organizations of the United Nation system that undertake healthrelated activities strengthen WHO’s technical leadership in oral health promotion. • • The WHO 2007 Resolution urges Member States to: 1. adopt measures to ensure that oral health is incorporated into policies for the integrated prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases. 2. take measures to ensure that evidence-based approaches are used. 3. consider mechanisms to provide essential oral health care and to incorporate oral health within the framework of primary health care. 4. consider the development and implementation of fluoridation programmes. 5. take steps to ensure that prevention of oral cancer is an integral part of national cancer-control programmes. 6. ensure the prevention of oral disease associated with HIV/AIDS and the promotion of oral health and quality of life for people living with HIV. 7. develop and implement oral health promotion for school children as part of activities in health-promoting schools. 8. scale up capacity to produce oral health personnel. 9. develop and implement, in countries affected by noma, national programmes to control the disease within national programmes for the integrated man- • • The WHO approaches to promotion of oral health The WHO GOHP has developed policies for the improvement of oral health in the 21st century (Petersen, 2003). Four strategic directions provide the framework for focusing WHO’s technical work for oral health: 1: Reducing the burden of oral disease and disability, especially in poor and disadvantaged populations; 2: Promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing risk factors to oral health that arise from environmental, economic, social and behavioural causes; 3: Developing oral health systems that equitably improve oral health outcomes, respond to needs and people’s legitimate demands, and are financially fair; and 4: Framing policies in oral health, based on integration of oral health into national and community health programmes, and promoting oral health as an effective dimension for development policy of society. Correspondence to: Professor Poul Erik Petersen, World Health Organization, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion, Global Oral Health Programme, Avenue Appia 20 - CH1211 Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail: [email protected]


Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
Editorial - Improvement of global oral health - the leadership role of the World Health Organization 194-199 Download
Trends in childrens’ ability to consent to a dental examination and the potential impact on reported caries indices 200-205 Download
Tooth surface loss, prevalence and associated risk factors among 12-14 years school children in Khartoum State, Sudan 206-212 Download
Dental caries experience of Kuwaiti kindergarten schoolchildren 213-217 Download
Trends in dental caries experience among children and adoles-cents in northern Poland between 1995 and 2003. 218-221 Download
Oral health status of Chinese teenagers with cerebral palsy 222-226 Download
Heavy consumption of dental services among Finnish adults 227-232 Download
Five-year follow-up of oral health and seizure condition of patients with epilepsy: a prospective observational stud 233-237 Download
Distribution of certain types of occlusal anomalies among Saudi Arabian adolescents in Jeddah city 238-241 Download
Oral health-related quality of life of elderly Germans - comparison of GOHAI and OHIP-14 242-247 Download
Salivary Streptococcus mutans level: value in caries prediction for 11-12-year-old children 248-252 Download
Short Communication - The quality of reporting of randomised controlled trials in dental public health 253-256 Download
December 2010 Supplement 2: Global oral health of older people – Call for public health action 257-268 Download


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