Penn Dental Medicine Joins with the WHO to Address Oral Health in Africa


Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine’s Center for Integrative Global Oral Health (CIGOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa brought together oral health educators, chief dental officers, and representatives from Ministries of Health from throughout Africa at the Exploring Global Strategies To Promote Oral Health In The WHO African Region conference.  This conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya in collaboration with the WHO and the University of Nairobi, resulted in the “Nairobi Declaration on Evidence to Policy: Accelerating the Implementation of the Regional and Global Strategies on Oral Health in the WHO African Region.”

“We were eager to help move the discussion forward on the importance of developing coordinated strategies to address oral healthcare throughout Africa,” says Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark S. Wolff. “With an evidence-informed, policy focus, our Center for Integrative Global Oral Health welcomes the chance to share our experience with educators, practitioners, and policymakers in the African region.”

The primary goal of the conference, held in November and attended by more than 70 delegates from 24 countries of the WHO African region, was to accelerate the creation, dissemination, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of oral health policies in the WHO African region by evidence-informed strategies and propose actionable recommendations in line with the WHO Global Oral Health Action Plan.

The Nairobi Declaration – the primary outcome of the meeting – outlines 10 such recommendations in the areas of education, research, and policy to improve oral health and health for all.

“The relationships formed at this meeting are vital to the collective work that must be done to provide accessible, high-quality healthcare for all,” says Dr. Michael Glick, Executive Director of CIGOH. “Through CIGOH, we look forward to continuing to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and resources among all the stakeholders in the efforts to make oral health a fundamental component of universal health coverage in Africa and around the globe.”