Priorities for research for oral health in the 21st Century
The approach of the WHO Global Oral Health Programme
Community Dental Health (2005) 22, 71–74
Guest Leader, Poul Erik Petersen
Chief, WHO Oral Health Programme
Based on a paper prepared for the Global Forum for Health Research Meeting, Forum 8, Mexico City, 16–20 November, 2004
The World Health Organization (WHO) “World Oral Health Report 2003” emphasized that despite great improvements in the oral health status of populations across the world, problems persist. The major challenges of the future will be to translate existing knowledge and sound experiences of disease prevention and health promotion into action programmes, this is particularly the case with developing countries that have not yet benefited from advances in oral health science to the fullest extent possible.
The WHO Oral Health programme gives priority to research helping correct the so called 10/90 gap which relates to the fact that only 10% of funding for global health research is allocated to health problems that affect 90% of the world population. As knowledge is a major vehicle for improving the health of the poor in particular, the WHO Oral Health Programme focuses on stimulating oral health research in the developed and developing world to reduce risk factors and the burden of oral disease, and to improve oral health systems and the effectiveness of community oral health programmes. Building and strengthening research capacity in public health are highly recommended by WHO for effective control of disease and the socioeconomic development of any given country.