News archive 2008
Global Child Dental Health Conference07 Mar 2008, PR 45/08
In the next week senior dental leaders from around the world will attend a leadership programme organised by the Global Child Dental Health Taskforce (GCDHT) at King’s to tackle the issue of global child dental disease.
The GCDHT, led by Professor Raman Bedi, Head of the Centre for International Child Oral Health at King’s, was originally set up as the first global initiative aimed at improving child oral health. It is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and from a grant from the UK government.
Dental disease is reaching unprecedented levels in many countries. In most countries over half of all children are suffering from dental caries and less than 20 percent of these receive treatment. Dental caries is a treatable disease and that so many children continue to suffer toothache is tragic.
Professor Bedi, Director of the GCDHT comments: ‘We see this programme as an opportunity to search for solutions and a means of pushing the problem of dental disease up the global health agenda. Since the last Senior Dental Leaders Programme we are already seeing the successes of Public Private Partnerships spearheaded by GCDHT and taken forward by national taskforces in places such as the Philippines and South Africa. Their commitment to tackling this problem is inspirational'.
This year senior dental deans have been invited to participate, and we are thrilled that 14 deans from 10 countries will attend, from the Philippines to the United States of America. This is an opportunity for senior leaders to come together to discuss strategies, share experiences and solutions and is a vital forum for global learning to tackle children’s oral health.’
The GCDHT initiative is already underway in eight countries including China, India, Mexico, South Africa and the United States, reaching out to over one billion children and their parents. It expects to encompass 30 countries within the next few years and is responding to the fragmented global burden of oral disease. For example, 50 percent of UK children leave school never having had a filling whereas in Philippines, this figure is less than 10 percent. The taskforce aims to influence and harmonize national oral health programmes via the sharing and development of cutting edge preventive strategies
Professor Bedi highlights that: 'Every child in the world deserves good oral health. Yet dental decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease with every other child across the world suffering a cavity. Child oral health is often treated as low priority or even overlooked within healthcare planning. The irony is that effective preventive measures are well proven and we believe that via a collaborative international approach we can considerably reduce and even eliminate dental cavities in children.
Last year our leadership programme focused upon Chief Dental Officers. The CDOs from South Africa and Saudi Arabia have last year achieved major successes in progressing fluoridating their countries water supply. The Philippine government placed every primary schoolchild into a daily toothbrushing programme. At the end of 2007 nearly 20 million children were in our preventative programmes'.
GCDHT’s mandate is to challenge both current global and local approaches to child dental health care and by bringing together those who have the ability and influence to change the situation in their own countries into a constructive learning environment is a way to advance the cause of child dental health care and generate worldwide debate.
Notes to editors
The Global Child Dental Health Taskforce
The Strategic goals of the GCDHT are to develop dental leader’s programmes; create a global child dental learning network; and to expand the number of taskforces established in countries around the world. These strategies support three key aims: to develop Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s); to coordinate dental health services and educational programmes; and to promote evidence based oral health messages.
The Global Child Dental Health Taskforce was established in January 2006 after 40 senior dental advisors and chief dental officers called for its formation at a 2005 European Union Presidency meeting. A key part of its strategy is to build a global network of national taskforces headed up by local, leading senior dental and public health specialists who work together to spearhead drives to improve oral health by developing cutting edge preventive strategies.
The initial network includes eight national taskforce members - Australia, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa and the United States. Significantly those countries represent 50 % of the world’s child population which equates to over 1 billion children. The numbers of countries involved looks to expand during 2008.
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King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher 2007) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has 19,700 students from more than 140 countries, and 5,400 employees. King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an annual income of approximately £400 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres - more than any other university.
Kate Moore Public Relations Officer (Health Schools)
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