18.12.15 - For FDI, 2015 ends with good humour and optimism

21 December 2015
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2015 ends with good humour and optimism
FDI President Dr Patrick Hescot
First of all, in these final days of 2015, I would like to wish all FDI members around the world a very happy and successful 2016.
The last Executive Committee meeting of the year took place on 3 and 4 December in an atmosphere of good humour and optimism – as indeed it should. 2015 has brought FDI to a position where it can once again match its actions to the scale of its ambition. It closes the year with a healthy operating surplus and comfortable reserves.
Further, it has successfully launched new projects with industry partners as well as re-invigorating long-term programmes with traditional partners.
Committee work is also progressing smoothly, according to the updates we received, with frequent calls taking place between members to keep them constantly updated on the status of work. In addition, FDI oral health advocacy is moving forward with a World Oral Health Day 2016 campaign focusing on creating a worldwide movement for oral health; a consolidated FDI role as advisor in World Health Organization activities in oral health and related fields, most recently radiation safety; and a new impetus to Vision 2020, now functioning both as Task Team and think tank evaluating concepts and underpinning actions to further the cause of oral health in the world.
Activities and awards
The ExCom was particular impressed with the rapid progress of FDI’s ongoing projects, three of which were officially launched in 2015, but which are already yielding results. Submissions are continuing for the ‘Smile Award’, one of the principal features of the Caries Prevention Partnership (CPP) with Colgate. The CPP seeks to recognize FDI member national dental associations (NDA) that are making difference to oral health through innovative and sustainable community outreach projects in their country. Deliverables include a white paper and an advocacy toolkit, both on Dental Caries Prevention and Management

The ‘Smile around the World’ partnership with Ivoclar Vivadent is actively promoting oral health and prevention among children in selected schools in India and Brazil. The concept derives from the fact that good oral hygiene learned at an early age will help ensure good oral health throughout the life-course. The project is carried out using specially-designed course booklet and poster describing seven steps to healthy teeth.

A focus on oral for ageing populations – and for children
The first conference the Oral Health for Ageing Population Partnership with GC Corporation is now set to take place in Lucerne, Switzerland, from 3 to 5 May 2016. The theme is ‘Life-long oral health: a fundamental human right’, with proceedings to be made published at a later date. In addition, a series of special sessions on gerontology and a variety of other activities are envisaged for the period 2016-2018.

The Brush Day & Night partnership with Unilever is focusing on efforts to educate children on daily twice-brushing and empowering them to become oral health advocates among their family and friends. The partnership also plan to leverage World Oral Health Day 2016 in 12 countries through activities with local partners. A workshop has just taken to align projects, analyse first data, prepare school activities to take place in 2016 and develop WOHD16-related activities.

World Oral Health Day 2016
ExCom was also reminded of the special features of the World Oral Health Day 2016 campaign, this time very much centred around 20 March, the day itself. Since the initial unveiling at the National Liaison Officers’ Forum in Bangkok, the first campaign materials have been made available to NDAs.

They include the phase 2 toolkit, which helps them to prepare the materials they will be using to support their activities. It outlines, among other things, the use and roll-out of the campaign collateral, advice on a media strategy and driving conversation across social media and the rules for engaging with the WOHD partners, Henry Schein, Philips Sonicare, Unilever and Wrigley – as well as how to measure and report success.

During current period, the last touches are being put to the principal campaign collateral, which will be available in January but released to the public only in the days leading up to 20 March 2016.

Vision 2020
FDI’s advocacy strategy and implementation plan has now been reviewed by the Executive Board and we are now in a position to move forward. I am happy to report that the first meeting of the Vision 2020 think tank took place recently in London. According to initial reports, it managed to achieve consensus on key areas such as a working definition of oral health and a conceptual framework to apply within different circumstances and among different stakeholders.

I would like to thank Prof David Williams, Prof Michael Glick and Prof Richard Watt for bringing their expertise to this task and, in doing so, making an invaluable contribution to key areas of FDI work.

Influencing the agenda
This is certainly the time to influence the international agenda, particularly when some members of the United Nations family are keen to call on FDI expertise in a number of strategic areas. One of these is radiation safety, where FDI participated in a Regional European Workshop on Radiological Protection Culture in Medicine (RPCM). As an important ‘consumer group’ of radiology products, the special expertise and experience of the dentist is particularly relevant.

The Workshop’s aim was to get input on a framework RPCM document due to be issued in 2017. The document is being developed through a series of regional meetings, of which this was the second. The first, for the Latin American region, took place in Buenos Aires in April of this year. The document resulting from the December Workshop will be issued to all participants for review. It will then be submitted for comment at the next Regional Workshop.  

Crucial role of associations
The Workshop emphasized the crucial role of medical associations and societies in promulgating the culture, ethics and working practices of each medical profession: these groups would therefore play an equally significant role in establishing the radiation safety culture. The FDI Policy Statement ‘Radiation Safety in Dental Practice’, issued to all Workshop participants, was singled out for special compliment by the WHO organizers.

In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which also works in the field of radiation safety in healthcare environments, has approached FDI to co-sponsor training material on Radiation Protection in Dentistry. The process included attending a Consultancy meeting at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, planned for 8-12 February 2016.

ADF congress
For my part, I made my traditional trip to Paris to attend the 2015 congress of the Association Dentaire Française. It was heartening to see that, despite the shocking events of mid-November, a festive and optimistic atmosphere was returning to the city with, nevertheless, reinforced security measures.

The congress was held under the theme ‘Digital R-evolution’, reflecting the huge changes underway in dental practice due to ongoing progress and introduction of digital techniques and technologies. It featured 107 sessions, with 28 sessions in English, as well as the now traditional daily lunch-time socio-medical broadcast debate on a variety of subjects under the unifying theme ‘It’s my health’.


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