September 24 marks the start of a series of events when over 130 Heads of State and Government together with senior officials and parliamentarians gather in New York during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (#UNGA). On Thursday, 27 September, the UN will hold a one-day comprehensive review of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which will be the third high-level meeting of the #UNGA on the issue. The comprehensive review, also known as High Level Meeting 3 (#HLM3) will be attended by over 55 world leaders seeking to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 to reduce premature mortality by NCDs by over one third by 2030. NCDs account for seven times more deaths than infectious diseases and millions of people worldwide suffer disabilities resulting from NCDs.
Oral health is very frequently overlooked by governments as they fail to recognize that oral diseases are some of the most prevalent NCDs on the planet. 3.5 billion people suffer untreated oral diseases from which the indirect costs, such as time away from school and work, amount to more than US$140 billion per year, ranking the indirect costs of oral diseases among the top 10 causes of death. There is a clear social gradient to the inequalities in oral health, and the social determinants for oral diseases are common to many other NCDs. Treatments for these NCDs and other conditions, for example cancer, will be compromised though poor nutrition consequent to poor oral function. Choking to death and inhalational pneumonia also are rooted in poor oral function and a compromised dentition.
Around the HLM, many side events are to be held and are both organized and attended by representatives of governments and NGOs. ADI as the only direct membership advocacy group for oral health in Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council will be represented at many of these events. ADI’s positioning is for all Member States to recognize oral diseases as:
(1) major social, economic and developmental burdens on society and national development
(2) an indicator of common risk factors predisposing to other NCDs
(3) largely preventable through tough actions
a. against added and non-intrinsic sugars in all forms, including taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages
b. against the use of all forms of tobacco
c. including access to
i. clean water for use in daily oral hygiene practices
ii. appropriate availability and use of fluoride agents such as toothpaste and drinking water.
Key events and their sponsoring organizers to be attended by ADI’s representatives include:
· NCD Alliance: Civil Society Advocacy Briefing
· The Access Challenge: Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases
· UN Development Program: Curse or Cure? Leaving No One Behind in an Age of Technological Revolution
· American Heart Association and others: Time to Disrupt the Health Care System
· Government of Uruguay and WHO: Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs): Time to Deliver Combatting - NCDs is Political Choice
· NCD Alliance: No turning back - Charting opportunities to invigorate and intensify the NCD response
· Global Alliance for Chronic Disease: Implementation Science - protecting national investments for NCD scale up?
· New York University: Oral Health and NCDs: Accelerating Integrated Global Progress
Dr. David C. Alexander
Vice President International Affairs
Academy of Dentistry International
+1 732 484 0582