FDI made five statements at the 68th World Health Assembly: three of them were on its own behalf and two on behalf of the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA). The WHA took place in Geneva from 18 to 26 May.
FDI pointed out that global and national surveillance of oral diseases (the most prevalent NCDs in the world) should be an integral part of routine epidemiological surveillance. “Monitoring risk factors and oral health needs is fundamental to developing appropriate oral health interventions and programmes and to evaluating their effectiveness,” said FDI.
FDI stressed that oral health is an integral part of general health and wellbeing and asked for oral health to be, from the outset, “fully integrated in the process of considering indicators to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development goals and targets and of drafting policies and guidelines”.
FDI emphasized the commitment of the international oral health community to reducing oral health-related inequalities and promoting “Oral Health in All Policies”, highlighting water fluoridation and school health programmes, as examples of environments conducive to better oral health. It emphasized its support for transparent labelling of foods and restricting the availability of sugar-sweetened beverage in schools.
WHPA highlighted the importance of considering potential conflict of interest not only of each NSA (e.g. NGO) but also of each member of the delegation or experts its appoints or suggests. It called on WHO to provide a summary of its analysis of information that NSA’s has already supplied for example on governance, financing and membership, and interactions with WHO’s work programme to help increase transparency and strengthen confidence.
WHPA strongly advised WHO to look into issues such as higher taxation on sugar-rich food and sugar-sweetened beverages, earmarking added revenue for health promotion, transparent food labelling for informed consumer choices, strong regulation of sugar in baby foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, limiting marketing and availability of sugar-rich foods and sugar-sweetened beverages to children and adolescents and simplified nutrition guidelines, including sugar intake, to promote healthy eating and drinking. WHPA also highlighted the danger from antibiotics used to promote growth of livestock in developing antimicrobial resistance.