Dental Research and Health Diplomacy
Dr. Weam Banjar. DDS., MS in Clinical Research, Comp.Dent (fellow)
Dentistry is no longer about drill and fill. It is becoming a fast growing industry. Multi-disciplinary approach to addressing dental challenges is necessary to establish comprehensive management scheme. Dentistry is a data-driven industry. Thus, quality of data is essential to draw proper conclusion. The perception of dentistry had changed among policy makers and scientific community. Dentistry interaction with public health is evident. Nevertheless, dentistry may impact economy, diplomacy, and well-being. Dental issues are complex and challenge healthcare system and population quality of life.
Health diplomacy is the practice by which government and professional organizations attempt to coordinate implementation of health policies to improve global public health. Health diplomacy principles when appropriately applied should improve global health, equitable access to health services, and strengthen the level of trust between population and health authorities. The level of commitment between governments and stakeholders reflects the improvement in healthcare system, knowledge transfers and experience sharing. Health issues influence international relation. Therefore, governments should extend their focus on health systems to global health diplomacy.
Dental services are essential component of healthcare system and public health ecosystem. Scientific evidence concludes a bidirectional interactional between oro-facial conditions and overall health. The burden of dental health and dental public health related issues is beyond economic. Governments acknowledge global health, environmental, political, and security challenges and their impact on dental health. COVID-19 displays the best example for the need of resilient healthcare system and comprehensive plan. Agile management is becoming a good approach to tackle every aspect and maintain optimal operation scheme during the pandemic. Dental care services and dental public health programs were interrupted during the pandemic, therefore, the overall quality of healthcare system was affected.
The concept of global health diplomacy is a powerful tool that provides resources for global health protection and supports global health promotion. Diplomacy is often perceived as a governmental duty and a foreign policy tool. However, the concept of diplomacy extends recently to cover any global interaction to foster international relations at areas of conflicts and during peace. Contribution of dentistry to health diplomacy is evident through dental care services and preventive dental programs. Health and well-being had been established among United Nation Sustainable Developmental Goal and dentistry sets an example for multidisciplinary efforts that positively affect population health. Mass community awareness and preventive programs are fundamental in reaching out to beneficiaries and drive the wheel of knowledge forward and share experience beyond borders. Trans-borders activities built inter-countries communication and complement governments’ diplomacy activities.