In Lucerne, we were very fortunate to have assembled an exceptionally distinguished group of experts from around the globe, among them officials from the World Health Organization (WHO), to take part in the discussions. The conference was built around an opening keynote address from WHO expert Hiroshi Ogawa, then five workshop sessions spread over two days.
They covered: (1) tooth loss and importance of retaining teeth for vitality, quality of life and longevity, with Prof Frauke Müller (2) prevention of tooth loss and dental pain for reducing the global burden of oral diseases, with Prof Susan Hyde; (3) relation oral health / general health and NCDs, with Prof Christoph Dörfer (4) health care systems, with Prof Elisa Ghezzi; and (5) surveillance and monitoring, with Prof Hideo Miyazaki.
It was a real pleasure to work with them during the three days of top-level panel sessions and discussions. I would like to warmly thank our speakers and all participants for contributing to the success of 2016 Conference on Oral Health for an Ageing Population.
Moving forward, we will be presenting the outcomes to a wider audience of dentists, national dental associations, policy makers and other people working in the field of oral and general health at a two-and-a-half-hour session at the World Dental Congress in Poznań.
FDI at the World Health Assembly
Dentists are now taking the lead in the field of health and ageing populations following the 'World Congress 2015' initiative by our friends at the Japan Dental Association and FDI's follow-up. We will be continuing this trend with a statement on oral health for ageing populations to be presented at the upcoming World Health Assembly, taking place from 23-28 May. We have also contributed to a joint statement of dentists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and physical therapists to be presented by the World Health Professions Alliance WHPA.
We will also be making a comment on the agenda item concerning maternal, young children and infant nutrition, drawing inspiration from the recommendations contained in the FDI Policy Statement Dietary Free Sugars and Dental Caries, adopted in 2015.
Our third statement responds to specific assignments in preparation for the third High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs to take place in 2018. NCDs and the common risk factor approach are very much part of the strategy that FDI's new integrated advocacy and communications team is now implementing.
FDI joins forces with the NCD Alliance
I mentioned briefly in my last message that FDI was now a member of the NCD Alliance Supporters Consultation group (SCG). The NCD Alliance brings together more than 2,000 organizations in over 170 countries and works on a global, regional and national level to bring a united voice to the global campaign on NCDs.
FDI is the only organization representing oral health within the SCG, which is composed of 14 organizations from NGOs, foundations and private sector. As a member of the SCG, FDI has the opportunity to help shape the NCD Alliance's campaigns and projects, participate in global health and development policy discussions, engage with the NCD Alliance's unique network of national and regional civil society organizations and alliances, and draw upon the lessons learnt from in-country projects and activities.
Joining the alliance is a key step in helping FDI integrate oral health into chronic disease prevention programmes to reduce their human, economic and social burden. By working with the NCD Alliance we can adapt a common risk factor approach (CRFA) and integrate oral health into strategies addressing NCDs. It also enables us to position oral diseases alongside the major NCDs and gain broader visibility.
We will sit at the table with NCD Alliance [www.ncdalliance.org] partners and develop CRFA strategies as well as participate in many high-level meetings, debates, forums and events to push forward the oral health agenda.
First FDI Persian Regional Congress
I had the immense good fortune to speak at the opening of the First FDI Regional Congress, which took place in Tehran from 16-20 May. It was held alongside the 56th International Dental Congress and Exhibition (56 EXCIDA), both very impressive. Participation was exceptionally high, with some 12,000 dentists attending.
I was particularly pleased to see that, besides the sessions devoted to the art and science of dentistry, time had been allotted to the status of oral health and the burden of oral disease in Iran based on a summary report of a national survey conducted in 2012, an Oral Health Symposium as well as discussions on dental ethics.
In my opening address in the presence of the Iranian Minister of Health Dr Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi and President of the Medical Council, Dr Alireza Zali, I stressed the need for dentists to remind people that oral health is an important part of general health. We must always emphasize this point when addressing policy makers and other people working in the field of health.
I also highlighted the five key tasks of modern dentistry to educate, inform diagnose, treat and maintain and the key role that dentists play in the self-esteem of the individual and his or her quality of life.
I would like to congratulate Dr Gholamreza Ghaznavi, President of the Iranian Dental Association and Congress Chair, Dr Ali Tajernia, for all the work in developing a truly exceptional First Persian Regional Dental Congress. I would also like to congratulate Scientific Chair Dr Kaveh Seyedan on a truly excellent scientific programme. We look forward to future opportunities for collaboration.