Letter from the President: A snapshot of hope and collective action in uncertain times

04 June 2020

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FDI Council pledges to lead the world to optimal oral health for World Oral Health Day 2020. 

FDI President Gerhard Seeberger

Dr Gerhard K. Seeberger

FDI President

A message to my friends and colleagues

Our comprehensive reporting post-World Oral Health Day shows staggering levels of engagement: we collected over 25,000 pledges for better oral health outcomes worldwide. We are also working side by side with our members to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In person and online celebrations for World Oral Health Day 2020

I want to thank the more than 80 FDI member national dental associations and members of the International Association of Dental Students who actively promoted World Oral Health Day in person and on their social media channels. Your work to promote oral health around the world does not go unnoticed! I am struck by our members’ collective ingenuity to promote the importance of oral health, especially in these difficult times. I invite you to have a look below at a small snapshot of our member celebrations

The Macedonian Dental Chamber organized an oral health event for young children.
The Macedonian Dental Chamber organized an oral health event for young children.
The Philippine Dental Association painted a #UniteForMouthHealth advocacy mural.
The Philippine Dental Association painted a #UniteForMouthHealth advocacy mural.
 
The Philippine Dental Association painted a #UniteForMouthHealth advocacy mural.
The Moroccan Dental Association (l’Association marocaine de prévention bucco-dentaire) set up a mobile dental clinic for young residents at the Beni Mellal children’s home in Casablanca.
The Moroccan Dental Association (l’Association marocaine de prévention bucco-dentaire) set up a mobile dental clinic for young residents at the Beni Mellal children’s home in Casablanca.
 
The Moroccan Dental Association (l’Association marocaine de prévention bucco-dentaire) set up a mobile dental clinic for young residents at the Beni Mellal children’s home in Casablanca.
FDI President at OMD
The Romanian Association of Dental Students (Liga Studentilor la Medicina Dentara Bucuresti) held an oral health education workshop a primary school in Bucharest.
FDI members promoted World Oral Health Day on their social media channels.
FDI members promoted World Oral Health Day on their social media channels.
 
FDI members promoted World Oral Health Day on their social media channels.
FDI members promoted World Oral Health Day on their social media channels.
 
FDI members promoted World Oral Health Day on their social media channels.

Advocacy highlights: from pledging for universal health coverage (UHC) to making oral health a global health priority

Oral health advocacy targets governments, decision makers and other key stakeholders by using evidence to influence policies and practices affecting dentistry and oral health of all populations. Achieving optimal oral health for all requires strong advocates who are ready to tackle this major public health challenge. I am proud to report that a number of diverse stakeholders around the globe contributed their own World Oral Health Day advocacy pledges:

FDI President at OMD
Leaders of the Council of European Dentists (including FDI Dental Practice Committee member Mick Armstrong (left) and FDI Councilor Paulo Melo (third from left)) pledged to urge decision makers to integrate essential oral healthcare packages into universal health coverage.
FDI President at OMD
European Parliament Member Irena Joveva (Slovenia) pledged to advocate oral health as an integral part of general health.
FDI President at OMD
The NCD Alliances staff in Geneva, Switzerland, pledged to stand up for UHC, including oral health and NCD care.
FDI President at OMD
The World Oral Health Day logo was displayed on the Hellenic Parliament in Athens, Greece, thanks to the efforts of the Hellenic Dental Association.
The Indian Ministry of Health posted two Tweets that went viral, thanks to their large following on social media.
The Indian Ministry of Health posted two Tweets that went viral, thanks to their large following on social media.
 
The Indian Ministry of Health posted two Tweets that went viral, thanks to their large following on social media.

FDI update on COVID-19

FDI participates in the virtual WHO World Health Assembly

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly (WHA73) was held virtually from 18–19 May 2020, with an abridged agenda. We (along with other civil society organizations) were given the opportunity to submit statements in advance, but we could not give verbal updates. FDI submitted a statement under Agenda Item 3: Address by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General on the COVID-19 pandemic response. I attended the virtual session and participated in the related NCD Alliance preparatory civil society meeting. Together with 35 other members of the WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs, we submitted a collective statement commending WHO for their leadership as the world grapples with the pandemic.

COVID-19 survey sent to FDI member dental associations

As many of you know, we recently sent a survey to our members, which asks about the current guidance, initiatives and resources related to dentistry and oral health during the COVID-19 outbreak in their countries. We aim to make these resources and information available to our members to inform and assist national-level responses to the crisis.

We are counting on our members to respond to the survey and we look forward to receiving your contributions. If you haven’t yet filled out the survey, you are welcome to fill it out online here. More FDI initiatives on COVID-19 are underway.

FDI Statement on Dentistry and Oral Health

Please find here FDI’s official statement on dentistry and oral health during the pandemic. Our statement emphasizes oral health as an essential public service and calls for oral health professionals to be included in the decision-making process regarding regulation of and guidance on health care delivery during the pandemic. We also underline the importance of access to, and clear guidelines on, personal protective equipment in dental practice.

I want to thank the oral health community for your perseverance in responding to this unprecedented global crisis. My gratitude also goes to all of you who have reached out to me personally with questions and those of you who have invited me to your online conferences and webinars.

Thank you for reading.

As always, stay safe and stay healthy!

Dr Gerhard K. Seeberger

FDI President

 

 

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