Oral health must be integrated into universal health coverage #WorldHealthDay
World Health Day, established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 and celebrated every year on 7 April, highlights contemporary global health issues. In 2019, this day is dedicated to universal health coverage (UHC) a term that is often misunderstood and misinterpreted and aims to raise awareness about what UHC means and why it is important. To mark the day, FDI is releasing a factsheet on UHC and oral health to help the oral health community support their conversations with policymakers and other important stakeholders in the global health community.
What is universal health coverage?
UHC means that all people have access to health services without suffering financial hardship to pay for it. It includes the full spectrum of essential health services: prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. At least half of the world’s population still does not have full coverage of essential health services and about 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for healthcare.
Why should oral health be part of universal health coverage?
Oral health is key to general health and well-being at every stage of life, yet basic oral health services remain out of reach for millions of people. More than half of the world’s population (3.5 billion) suffer from untreated oral diseases, which can result in pain, infection, tooth loss and loss of productivity. Integrating oral health into UHC will help improve oral health outcomes and reduce inequalities in access to care. Countries at all income levels can take steps to move closer to develop and implement their own UHC package of essential health services that integrates oral health and fits the needs of their population.
FDI is part of the push to achieve universal health coverage by 2030
The World Oral Health Forum: oral health as part of universal health coverage
At this year’s World Oral Health Forum on 7 September, held at the FDI World Dental Congress in San Francisco, USA, health representatives, including those from the NCD Alliance, WHO, the International Association for Dental Research, the American Dental Association, and FDI will discuss why it is critical to ensure that oral health is recognized as a key public health priority and is integrated into the emerging UHC policy agenda. The speakers will present the evidence, strategies, and solutions that are essential to stop governments from neglecting and marginalizing oral health.
The UN High-level meeting on UHC: Why it matters
The first-ever United Nations (UN) High-level meeting on UHC will take place on 23 September 2019 in New York, USA, to secure political commitment from countries on UHC. All UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve UHC by 2030, as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The meeting will result in a Political Declaration, negotiated by UN Member States, that will form the basis for global efforts to provide universal access to affordable and quality health-care services.
FDI will ensure that the voice of the oral health community is heard during the UHC debate so that oral health services are integrated within strategies addressing other NCDs. Specifically, those strategies aimed at health promotion, disease prevention and access to care.
Being part of the conversation on UHC is a key part of FDI’s work to have oral health recognized and accepted as a core element of general health.
Add your voice to the call for #HealthForAll
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