Promoting Oral Health for Refugees: An Advocacy Guide

Kateeb, Elham
Zaheer, Khaleda
Fisher, Julian
Abd El Ghani, Ahmad
Williams, David
Dartevelle, Sophie
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FDI World Dental Federation
One of the main objectives of the FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) 2018-2021 strategy is to promote oral health among underserved populations globally. The first pillar of FDI’s Vision 2030 advocacy strategy states that essential oral health services should be integrated into universal healthcare packages in every country, and quality oral healthcare should become available, accessible, and affordable to all, with special attention paid to marginalized and vulnerable populations. Refugees are among the most vulnerable groups worldwide. They have limited access to oral health education, oral disease prevention and therapeutic dental care. This is due, in part, to the relatively high cost of restorative treatment, limited access and availability of dentists, unaffordability of dental insurance, and language barriers. Data collected by FDI from 105 National Dental Associations found that a very significant gap exists in oral health policies at global, regional, and national levels. There are limited oral health advocacy initiatives for refugees, who have poor access to therapeutic and preventive interventions related to oral care. This guide was developed to address this gap and to lead the way for national dental associations (NDAs) and other interested stakeholders to: • raise awareness of the burden that refugees face to maintain their own oral health and the challenges that host countries face to maintain good oral health in their populations; • highlight the gaps in data collection and the importance of oral health screening/surveillance for refugees; • provide guidance on measuring and understanding the problem with focused attention on the social determinants of oral health; • support countries that host refugees with tools and strategies that can strengthen their own oral health strategies and programmes; • integrate the management of oral health conditions among refugees into general health services and the provision of care; • mainstream oral health through health systems planning, funding, and implementing oral health promotion and disease prevention intervention among this group.