WHO Executive Board special session on COVID-19: FDI says equitable access to essential oral healthcare services must continue

07 October 2020 WHO

FDI underlined the importance of adapting the COVID-19 response to emerging evidence to ensure that the safest protocols are implemented to safely deliver essential oral healthcare services. 


The World Health Organization (WHO) convened a special session of the Executive Board that was held virtually on 5 and 6 October 2020. The special session was dedicated to the COVID-19 response.

FDI, along with other non-state actors in official relations with WHO, was invited to submit a statement in advance, but could not give a verbal update. FDI submitted the following statement under Agenda Item 3: Update on implementation of resolution WHA73.1 (2020) on the COVID-19 response.

WHO Executive Board: Special session on the COVID-19 response (EBSS/5/2)

3. Update on implementation of resolution WHA73.1 (2020) on the COVID-19 response

FDI World Dental Federation (FDI), representing 200 national dental associations (NDAs) and over one million dentists, welcomes the update on the COVID-19 response. FDI advocates that the burden on health systems, caused by unnecessary and avoidable dental visits, should be reduced by utilizing every opportunity to reinforce oral health promotion and prevention messages. 

However, to support Universal Health Coverage and to avoid an even bigger burden on health systems in the future, equitable access to essential oral healthcare services must continue. NDAs, in many countries, have worked with their governments to put guidelines in place to ensure that patients and staff are adequately protected from viral transmission, so that oral healthcare services can be safely delivered. 

There have been many lessons learnt and further research, is of paramount importance so that recommendations evolve according to emerging evidence to ensure that the safest protocols are implemented. FDI contributes to this evidence base by acting as a data hub and sharing guidelines and research from across the globe through its website.

Key findings from a FDI survey gathering information from 80 countries, will also be published, very soon, with the objective of defining common strategies that have been effective in the prevention and control of COVID-19 within dental settings. 

This evidence will help with WHO’s aim to support the continued safe functioning of health systems as outlined in paragraph 14 of the update on the COVID-19 response. It will also be a valuable resource to inform the work of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, whose purpose it is to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO’s-coordinated international health response to COVID-19. 

Only by working together in solidarity can we hope to find effective solutions for this Public Health threat as quickly as possible.