FDI champions oral health at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva

Read about FDI’s participation at the 77th Session of the World Health Assembly that took place from 27 May–1 June 2024, in Geneva, Switzerland.


WHO / Pierre Albouy

The 77th World Health Assembly (WHA77) of the World Health Organization (WHO) convened from the 27th of May until the 1st of June in Geneva, Switzerland. Under the theme “All for Health, Health for All,” this year's assembly underscored the universal importance of health as a fundamental human right.

FDI actively participated in WHA77, emphasizing critical issues related to oral health and ensuring the collective voice of its members resonated within this prominent global health forum.

FDI makes its voice heard on key agenda items at WHA77

FDI's participation was marked by its involvement in meetings and the delivery of joint statements with the International Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research (IADR) on several key agenda items. These efforts were directed towards maintaining oral health as a significant aspect of public health discussions. The agenda items FDI and IADR focused on include:

  1. Universal Health Coverage: To advocate for the integration of essential services for oral health into universal health coverage plans to ensure comprehensive care.
  2. Follow-up to the Political Declaration of the Third High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases: To encourage aligning national oral health plans to the Global Oral Health Action Plan (2023 – 2030) and ensure adequate surveillance systems. FDI and IADR also emphasized the importance of implementing the best-buy interventions on oral health.
  3. Antimicrobial Resistance: Accelerating National and Global Responses: To address the critical issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and advocate for dentists to be an integral part of multi-sectoral national action plans to tackle AMR.
  4. Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition: To urge governments to tax sugar-sweetened beverages and other unhealthy foods and beverages, implement front-of-package nutrition labeling, and regulate the marketing of unhealthy foods, especially those targeting children and adolescents, while highlighting the impact of oral health on the nutrition and overall well-being of mothers, infants, and young children.
  5. Well-being and Health Promotion: To promote oral health as an integral component of overall well-being and health promotion initiatives. FDI and IADR also urged governments to include oral health in national health and well-being surveillance by fully implementing the Global Oral Health Action Plan and its monitoring framework report.
  6. Draft of the Fourteenth General Programme of Work: To ensure that oral health is adequately represented in the WHO's strategic planning for the coming years. FDI and IADR urged WHO to reinstate the following proposed outcome indicators:
    • Proportion of countries that implement policy measures aimed at reducing free sugars intake,
    • prevalence of the main oral diseases and conditions, and
    • number of dentists per 10,000 population.

Access WHA77 statements


Co-organizing Events to Amplify Oral Health

FDI`s WHA77 delegation was led by its President, Dr Greg Chadwick. Beyond its contribution to the debates on specific WHA77 agenda items, FDI co-organized and participated in several side-events with key partners to further elevate the importance of oral health on the global stage. These events included:

  • The World Health Professions Alliance’s (WHPA) 25th anniversary, featuring the launch of the organization’s new strategy and celebrating its quarter-century of collaborative efforts in global health.
  • A High-Level side-event led by Ireland in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations. This event highlighted the importance of the Global Oral Health Action Plan (2023 – 2030), and the need to ensure adequate systems and frameworks at the country-level to support its monitoring and evaluation.  .
  • A side-event in collaboration with WHPA members focusing on noncommunicable diseases and the health workforce. This event underscored the growing burden of NCDs, including oral health and the importance of ensuring a health workforce that  can provide the continuum of care needed to address it.

FDI's active engagement at WHA77 highlights its commitment to keeping oral health at the forefront of global health discussions. By addressing critical health issues and collaborating with international partners, FDI ensures that oral health remains a vital component of the global health agenda.

For a full update, be sure to sign up for our advocacy updates newsletter, which is shared quarterly.