Oral health in the African region: progress and perspectives of the regional strategy
Objectives: According to The World Oral Health Report 2003, oral diseases remain a major public health problem worldwide. However, oral health is seen as a very low priority in the African Region, where extreme poverty means that the limited resources available to the health sector are directed towards life-threatening conditions such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The mission of the Oral Health Programme at the Regional Office of WHO for Africa is to assist Member States to achieve those goals by means of a Regional Strategy. In fact in September 1998, the WHO Regional Committee for Africa adopted a ten year (1999-2008) Oral Health Plan for the African Region (AFR/RC48/9) with the aim of fundamentally improving community oral health. Its cornerstone is provision of the technical and managerial resources to efficiently and effectively deliver affordable intervention that matches the oral health needs of the community. Data Sources: This review presents major achievements made since the WHO Regional Strategy was launched in 1998 and priority actions which should be taken to further implement the Regional Strategy. Conclusions: WHO/AFRO recommends more commitment at country level to improve oral health and to reinforce partnerships in order to mobilize and coordinate the human, financial, material and institutional resources needed to implement, monitor and evaluate the Regional Strategy.
Key words: Oral health, Africa, World health, Strategy, Epidemiology