Every year, on 20 June, the world unites to pay tribute to the resilience and bravery of refugees. World Refugee Day serves as a catalyst for people around the globe to come together with a shared determination to provide support to those who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict or persecution.
In the spirit of this global solidarity, FDI joined forces with Framework Convention on Global Health Alliance (FCGH Alliance), Sustainable Health Equity Movement (SHEM) and World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) to develop a policy brief calling on policymakers, healthcare providers and the international community to promote oral health for refugees.
Call to Action: Promoting Oral Health for Refugees
With the scale of global displacement growing alarmingly, refugees find themselves among the most vulnerable populations worldwide. Unfortunately, these individuals face numerous barriers in accessing healthcare, including oral health services. Recognizing this critical gap, the organizations are calling on policymakers, healthcare providers, and international and national organizations to ensure that oral health is an integral part of health strategies for refugees. By doing so, refugees can be empowered to lead better lives in their host countries.
"Oral health is essential, even in times of displacement, and access to oral health care is a fundamental right for all. Promoting oral health for refugees necessitates united efforts, ensuring equitable access to services that should be an integral part of all present and future refugee health strategies," asserts Dr Elham Kateeb, FDI Public Health Committee Chair and Associate Professor of Dental Public Health at Al-Quds University.
The policy brief emphasizes the necessity of collaborative and united efforts to guarantee that oral health services are an integral component of existing and future refugee health strategies. By advocating for equitable access to oral health services, we can help alleviate the burdens faced by refugees and empower them to rebuild their lives with dignity and confidence.
"Refugees are among our world's most vulnerable populations, forced from their homes and often having suffered trauma and blatant disregard for their rights. Basic humanity and common decency demand that we do whatever we can to enable them to start their new lives in communities and countries where their rights and dignity are fully honored. Moreover, international law is clear – the equal rights of refugees must be fully respected and fulfilled, including access to health services – and no less oral health services than for any other needed health care."- Eric A. Friedman, member of Framework Convention on Global Health Alliance Executive Committee
Access, read, and share the policy brief widely to raise awareness and encourage action. Recognizing that oral health is a critical component of overall health and well-being, it is vital for individuals, including refugees, to have equitable access to timely, affordable, and high-quality care.