In item three of this 'Letter', I will also briefly review FDI's hugely successful and enjoyable 'Strategy for Africa' Level 2 Workshop, held in Geneva from 15 to 18 February. It involved participants from 20 national dental associations who all, at various times during the course of the Workshop, expressed their appreciation of both the event's organization and content.
Face-to-face discussions in São Paulo
FDI is in a very special position with regards to some of its national dental associations, as advisor. It is there to support members and, when necessary, sit down together and discuss issues face-to-face.
This was the principal aim of my visit to São Paulo, Brazil, where I attended sessions of the 34th CIOSP, São Paulo International Dental Meeting, organized by the São Paulo Dental Association, with the support of FDI member Brazilian Association of Dental Surgeons (ABCD).
Aside from attending sessions of the excellent scientific programme, I also made a presentation about FDI to bring participants up-to-date with the latest developments and projects underway. I was also able share views with key officials from national dental associations present at the congress on how to build an FDI regional strategy for Latin America.
FDI members are probably aware that there have, in the past, been some differences of opinion on Latin American strategy so it was very much the right time for FDI to be there to listen, debate, identify problems and find solutions. I certainly feel that, together, we made reassuring progress.
An exciting event
The United Arab Emirates International Dental Conference & Arab Dental Exhibition (AEEDC) in Dubai is always an exciting event, with excellent scientific sessions as well as the very latest in dental equipment on display.
This year, AEEDC, held from 2 to 4 February under the theme 'Education and Innovation Transfer', was in its 20th year, so the mood was celebratory. I joined the scientific programme on day 2 with a lecture entitled 'New strategies, policies and challenges for the dental profession and oral health'.
In it, I described FDI's special advocacy role, positioning oral health and the dental profession within the health policy trends and outlined of the current positioning of the dentist in society. By way of illustration, I highlighted the new challenges in securing oral health and quality of life for ageing populations worldwide.
The Middle East is an area where FDI is largely unrepresented and I believe we must make every effort to promote the very real benefits of FDI membership. With this in mind, I held a number of meetings with officials from dental associations and societies in the region and received some positive feedback. I await with interest to see how the situation evolves.
It All Starts Here
With World Oral Health Day less than one month away, I'm sure that many NDAs are already in an advanced stage of preparation for their national and local events. The focus this year is on building a worldwide movement in favour of oral health in particular through assets and products to be shared on social media.
That is why we have created specific products designed to view, download and share. For example, there is a game called 'Mad Mouths' which is both fun to play and challenging, with its own scoring system, as well as educational, with top tips on oral health at each game level. You can download it from Apple Store or Google Play.
We have also developed a humorous video with a simple message, which you can copy and post on your own websites, forward to the media or share with your friends and colleagues over the social media.
You can also go the World Oral Health Day website and upload a photograph to create your own poster for your dental practice or office – or to create your personal World Oral Health Day campaign banner for Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
All these products are available in three languages - English, French and Spanish - and I do encourage you to use them, share them and, where possible, give them a five-star rating!
Strategy for Africa workshop
FDI's second Strategy for Africa Workshop was a huge success and I would like to personally thank the participants, the organizers and the presenters for putting together such an engaging event.
The subjects were communicating oral health promotion and disease prevention; carrying out effective oral health advocacy within national governments as well as carrying out effective oral health advocacy within international institutions on the African continent; and fundraising.
It was a particularly productive workshop and I would like in particular to commend the work of FDI Councillor Prof. Ihsane Ben Yahya, who is leading FDI's Strategy for Africa.