Association for Dental Education in Europe

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Global Health and Social Accountability


The Global Health Special Interest Group which will meet for the first time in Barcelona at ADEE 2016 is chaired by Prof. Rui Amaral Mendes, Portugal and Seema Biswas of the BMJ.

About the sig

In 2000 the heads of state of the United Nations signed the Millennium Declaration establishing eight development goals for the 15-year period following 2000.  These were known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with Health, overall, occupying a dominant role in this vision of development.  After 2015 the 8 Millennium Development Goals gave rise to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The task set before us, Healthcare providers, until 2030 is, to say the least, highly demanding, in the sense that Health-related SDGs are been regarded as crucial streamers that must and will be monitored in order to enforce National and Global accountability regarding the well-being of the World's population.

We often forget that according to the World Health Organisation, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Hence, when we think about Dental Education and overall services's provision, we can not help to feel that we are currently at a crossroad: one that demands us to move “outside the box” of our Dental Schools and Dental offices, while engaging with theneeds of our communities at home and vulnerable communities across the world.

Education, even at the undergraduate level, and service provision are, therefore, intricately linked.  We have to accept that we need to train dentists who are far more than just competent technicians, but rather health professionals responsible for oral health and health in general. Dentists need to get to know their patients and their communities better if they are to provide truly effective care.

There is a need for those involved in Dental Education to take the lead on incorporating global health into the undergraduate dental curriculum and to boost global health in postgraduate practice. The key focus should be to provide better dental care to patients at home, work on improving access (for free or at low cost) for patients at home and to fill the gap where dentists are scarce.

Due to socio-economic, cultural and political reasons, large segments of the world’s population have limited or no access to regular dental care. Assisting the development of dental services in these areas should be regarded as a win- win strategy for both the developed and developing world as opportunities for training, practice and research lend themselves to twinning established successful programs at home with programmesfor the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Dental Educators should set the standard in establishing a global dental programme, that promotes a holistic approach of our patients, based on sound principles of Interprofessional Collaborative Care (IPCC) and Social Accountability.

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