Focus on prevention at Athens LLL event
Twenty-six participants from as far afield as Chile and Vietnam gathered in Athens, Greece, on 29 and 30 January to take stock of progress in the landmark Live.Learn.Laugh. (LLL) partnership between Unilever and FDI.
There are currently 29 LLL projects underway in 27 countries, two of which are taking place in Greece, one in partnership with the Stomatological Society of Greece, the other with the Hellenic Dental Association.
Meanwhile, in a parallel event in an adjoining meeting room, FDI President Dr Orlando Monteiro da Silva, struck a chord with members of the press in a keynote address entitled: ‘Prevention: the best option in times of austerity’.
A powerful message
He distinguished between the prevention, targeting damaging behaviour—smoking, for example—that FDI undertakes in association with its physician, pharmacist, physical therapist and nursing colleagues within the context of the World Health Professions Alliance WHPA and prevention encouraging good behaviour.
Of the FDI-Unilever LLL partnership he said: “It is my conviction that we are managing to make a difference in building awareness and educating parents, children and teachers around the world, thus promoting oral hygiene.”
Emphasising the key role such prevention-based projects play in the strategy outlined in FDI Vision 2020, he praised the partnership “for providing opportunities to demonstrate the principle that simple, easy-to-practise dental hygiene can go a long way towards ensuring a sound dentition and disease-free gums during the course of life.”
LLL Phase 2 was launched in 2010, after the successful completion of Phase 1 in 2009, during an LLL Global Workshop held during the FDI Annual World Dental Congress in Salavador de Bahia, Brazil,
The Athens workshop was the first opportunity for participants to focus attention on some of the initial results, in particular related to brushing behaviour.
Prior to that, workshops in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2012 and in Manila, the Philippines, focused respectively on providing guidance on data collection and on strengthening LLL implementation through a process of continuous evaluation.
Early results reported in Athens need to be collated, analyzed and interpreted, so comment would be out of place: nevertheless, the prevailing optimism of participants is an early sign of the project’s impact.
For its part, the Athens LLL workshop was also once-yearly opportunity for participants to discuss and review how the partnership is proceeding, look at any issues that some countries may be experiencing and ensure the continued smooth running.
It featured discussions with the regional coordinators Professors Denis Bourgeois (France), Prathip Phantumvanit (Thailand) and Juan Carlos Llodra Calvo (Spain) to address the scientific details of each project..
Participants also reported on various ways in which they were communicating the project to internal and external stakeholders. They brought with them an astonishing range of communication tools from simple project stickers, through posters and brochures to audio-visual presentations.
While the project has a number of key messages, participants have adapted them to take into account local culture, thereby enhancing their effectiveness within a given context. Many also reported that they had made efforts to ensure local, if not national authorities are aware of the ongoing projects in their region—projects in schools, for example, frequently need an official ‘green light’— and are supportive of the aims.