The number of people benefitting from the charity’s resources continues to grow. Regional and global initiatives being delivered by leading agencies / organisations and institutions are a key factor in this expansion:
The Lancet Commission on Oral Health
A grant has been made to help establish a Lancet Commission on Oral Health.
In July 2019, a ground-breaking oral health series was published in The Lancet. The series highlighted the global public health importance of oral diseases and the need for a radically different policy agenda to tackle this major problem. It comprised two major papers (Peres et al. 2019; Watt et al. 2019), two associated commentaries (Beaglehole and Beaglehole 2019; Kearns and Bero 2019), a perspective piece on the historical origins of modern dentistry (Barnett 2019) and a profile of a UK dental public health researcher (Davies 2019). Oral health was also the focus of the editorial. Never before in the 196-year history of the Lancet has oral health been given such a high profile.
The series generated considerable interest and led to the decision to establish The Lancet Commission on Oral Health. Twenty-seven experts, from 16 countries, engaged in academic research, policymaking, health and human rights advocacy, and clinical dentistry, have been appointed as commissioners. Their work will focus on four key priorities:
Global advocacy and policy development: explore best ways to raise the political and policy profile of oral health and integrate oral health within the wider policy and development global frameworks
- Equity, social justice and oral health: develop improved monitoring systems to assess oral health equity, review evidence of effectiveness of interventions to reduce oral health inequalities, and inform policy development to promote oral health equity
- Health system reform, governance and transformation: assist policy and decision makers develop robust and resilient (oral) health care systems across the globe including human resources, payment systems, integrated delivery models, appropriate technology, and minimising environmental impact
- Commercial determinants: highlight and expose the influence of industry and profit motives on all aspects of oral health including education, research, service delivery and policy, and develop appropriate means of minimising this influence and improving the transparency of industry relationships with oral health stakeholders
GLOBICS - a Global Consortium of Oral Health-Related Birth Cohort Studies
The National Dental Research Institute Singapore has established the GLOBICS, a Global Consortium of Oral Health-Related Birth Cohort Studies (OHRBCS). It is intended that a long-lasting international collaborative research group, among teams conducting substantial, ongoing, or recently completed oral health epidemiological studies inserted in OHRBCS, will be built, and the findings from this initiative disseminated widely.
The primary goal of the GLOBICS is to address already identified research questions, such as the independent associations among well-known risk factors with the most common oral diseases and conditions, which, could benefit from, increased statistical power and consistency in pooling data, from multiple studies. This approach would also provide a strategy to explore interactions between oral health determinants and various socio-cultural influences, economic conditions, and health systems, which should be profoundly appropriate.
The second goal of the Consortium is to establish a long-lasting collaborative network among the global OHRBCS, including capacity building among young scientists, epidemiologists, and statisticians from the various cohort teams.
Finally, the Consortium intends to disseminate the findings of the collaboration through scientific meetings and journal articles and facilitate the implementation of its findings into clinical and public health arenas.
Digital Oral Health Survey
The WHO recommends using digital interventions and integrating technology in health care organisations to strengthen health care systems. Although interest in digital health is growing rapidly, it has been suggested that the oral health community has failed to keep pace with the advances in this field. The trustees were therefore pleased to support a project that is seeking to assess, at a global level, the potential for digital oral health and the organisational, governmental, and societal e-readiness. The work is being conducted by the University of Montpellier, France, in collaboration with McGill University, Montréal. Canada, and the WHO. A two-step approach has been used to gather quantitative and qualitative data. In the 1st phase an e-questionnaire was distributed to chief dental officers across the world to identify where digital oral health programmes had been implemented, thebarriers and facilitators to introducing such programmes, the infrastructures in place to support implementation, the readiness at all levels to do so, the target populations, and the support that might be required. One hundred and one responses were received from 86 countries. The findings will be disseminated widely and reported in a peer-reviewed publication.
Scoping Review of Upstream Interventions
Recent reviews have indicated the limitations of clinical and educational interventions (downstream) in achieving long-term sustainable improvements in population oral health and reducing oral health inequalities. There is a general consensus that a combination of downstream, midstream, and upstream interventions is required. A grant has therefore been provided to the University College of London, UK, to undertake a scoping review of global literature, to assess the effectiveness of upstream policy interventions. This review will complement the work being undertaken by the Lancet Commission which includes a policy and oral health inequalities workstream. It will also inform the work being carried out by WHO on the Global Oral Health Action Plan.