We work closely with our strategic partners to raise the profile of oral health on the noncommunicable disease and global health agenda. Our partnerships serve to drive action on oral health and identify health win-wins on cross-cutting issues.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) primary role is to direct and coordinate international health work within the United Nations system. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are a major area of work for WHO. WHO recognizes that NCDs, including oral diseases, pose a significant health burden. WHO also acknowledges the link between oral health, general health and quality of life.
FDI has been in official relations with WHO since its founding in 1948. Our official relations status with WHO gives us the unique opportunity to attend meetings of WHO’s governing bodies – the WHO Executive Board and World Health Assembly. These serve as meaningful forums for FDI to represent the interests of our member National Dental Associations and the broader oral health community, provide input on draft documents, and influence policies on a global stage.
FDI and WHO have defined a work plan for 2018-2020; over the next three years we will work closely with WHO’s Oral Health Team to support WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2020-2030, as well as other priority areas of health ageing, antimicrobial resistance, and universal health coverage.
Many NCDs, including most oral diseases, share the same socio-economic determinants and some common risk factors – including an unhealthy diet high in sugar, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. FDI works closely with the NCD Alliance to address the urgent need to integrate oral health into the prevention and treatment of NCDs.
The NCD Alliance unites 2,000 civil society organizations representing different diseases and risk factors to work on a common agenda to improve NCD prevention and control worldwide. As part of our collaboration, FDI participates in the NCD Alliance Supporters Consultation Group (SCG) – a select group of corporations, foundations, research institutes and non-governmental organizations – which aims to improve the lives of people living with NCDs and tackle their risk factors. FDI is the only organization representing oral health within the SCG.
By working with the NCD Alliance, we can accelerate political commitment and action on NCDs and adopt a common risk factor approach for integrating oral health into strategies addressing NCDs. Our partnership also enables FDI to position oral diseases alongside the major NCDs and gain broader visibility on the global health agenda.
World Taekwondo (WT) is the International Federation governing the sport of Taekwondo and is a member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the International Paralympic Committee. WT wants to improve and promote oral hygiene and prevent dental injuries to protect the health and safety of its athletes.
In 2019, as FDI started promoting oral health for sports players through its Sports Dentistry project, WT and FDI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)—the very first official agreement between any Olympic and Paralympic sports international federation and the largest membership-based dental organization in the world.
Through this MoU, WT and FDI will be able to develop oral health education programs as well as more specific guidelines and medical rules for sports mouthguards. Together, they will also be able to conduct research projects that will help achieve meaningful injury and illness prevention.