Nature India is releasing a very timely special issue today in collaboration with knowledge partners University of Adelaide. The special issue on ‘Oral Health Inequalities and Health Systems in Asia-Pacific’ is a ready reckoner of the state of affairs and trends in oral health inequalities in the region. The issue hopes to be of great value to the region’s policy makers, health professionals, the oral health industry and general public.
The special issue has 12 articles and an editorial by the who’s who of oral health research in the region. The authors of these articles are senior academic or policy personnel, who in their own right have made a significant contribution to oral health research both globally and in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Here’s a brief summary of the special issue:
This special issue is a unique effort to address key challenges facing oral health inequalities and health systems in the Asia-Pacific region. A group of experts and leaders have authored pieces to strengthen the “call for action”. Based on the London Charter for Oral Health Inequalities, the special issue stresses the importance of advocacy on oral health inequalities in the region. The issue calls for an agenda further to strengthen essential aspects of health systems, such as dental workforce, service delivery, organisation of care, health financing, governance and leadership.
Asia-Pacific is home to about half of the world’s population. It is a diverse community with deep historical roots, comprising of 38 countries. Health is an intrinsic aspect of economic development in the region, and central towards achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals. Oral health is essentially the health of the mouth and adjacent structures.
Tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss rank among the most common diseases (or conditions) in the world. The cost of treating oral diseases are high and occupy a large proportion of the overall expenditure on health. For example, direct treatment costs due to oral diseases were estimated at US$298 billion a year globally, corresponding to an average of 4.7% of the global health expenditure. Even though oral diseases are preventable, oral health is a neglected component of health and oral health care is given low priority in most heath care systems. There is an urgency for collaborative efforts among researchers, policymakers, public health practitioners, clinical teams and public, so as to improve oral health in the Asia-Pacific.
You can download the special issue here.