FDI launches joint policy brief with NCD Alliance – Accelerating Action on Oral Health and NCDs
FDI today launched a joint policy brief with the Noncommunicable Disease Alliance (NCD Alliance) during a session held at the World Dental Congress in Madrid, Spain. The session entitled “No health without oral health: how the dental community can leverage the NCD agenda to deliver on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”, aimed at driving an integrated response to oral health and NCDs.
Why a shared response?
The primary focus of the global NCD response has been on the four major diseases – namely cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases – and four risk factors – tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol. There is, however, a range of diseases and conditions including oral diseases that are linked to the four most prominent NCDs.
"A united call for urgent action will have greater force than uncoordinated requests by disparate, smaller groups. There are numerous challenges – funding, access to medicines and meaningful patient engagement – but those of us working in different disease groups have different strengths and different stories to tell. Our knowledge and best practice in both prevention and treatment can be exchanged and leveraged for maximum impact."
Katie Dain, Executive Director, NCD Alliance
NCDs are now widely recognized as a major challenge to health and sustainable human development in the 21st century and are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, responsible for 70% of global mortality. This figure is projected to reach 74% by 2030. Oral diseases affect 3.9 billion people worldwide and untreated tooth decay (dental caries) touches almost half of the world’s population (44%), making it one of the most prevalent diseases globally.
"Oral disease and NCDs do not exist in isolation and the oral health community must work with other disease groups to raise awareness of the links between our communities, namely the co-morbidities and joint risk factors. Collaboration between health areas, and identifying health win–wins, will also help governments to reach their existing commitments to tackle NCDs."
Patrick Hescot, FDI President (2015-2017)
Addressing shared risk factors and social determinants
Driven by similar risk factors, together with demographic changes including rapid urbanization and ageing populations, oral health and other NCDs are closely interconnected. Often, two or more NCDs manifest in the same individual, referred to as ‘NCD co-morbidities’. NCD co-morbidities can occur because diseases share the same risk factors, or because some diseases predispose individuals to developing others. As a result, these conditions can benefit from a comprehensive and integrated response.