175518 International Oral Health Policy Reform: Improving Refugee Oral Health through Gateway Initiative Implementation and Inter-Agency Collaboration

Sunday, October 26, 2008

C. Ashley Orynich , School of Dental Medicine, Harvard University, Boston, MA
An increasing awareness of the association between the overall well-being of Refugees and improved oral health requires a call to action for further policy development and implementation. We hypothesize results from this study will offer possible solutions to improving refugee oral health, and express the obvious need for policy action to be taken on an international platform.

A survey was conducted at seven international agencies through a semi-structured interview to identify ways to improve the oral healthcare services provided to refugees. The organizations invited to participate include the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Health Organization (WHO), the FDI World Dental Federation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Results demonstrate that six of the seven agencies recognize the need for increased integration of oral health services into their programs but lack the resources and knowledge capital for such implementation. Inter-agency coordination is limited and must be encouraged to determine the best strategies for developing the resource capacity within and between agencies to affect this vulnerable group.

Research conducted to identify oral disease prevalence within Refugee camps and the evaluation of cost-effective dental services can achieve this goal. Durable policy solutions involve the incorporation of Oral Health into various international agency health and relief programs through education and nutrition gateway initiatives.

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess current programs and identify new strategies to increase awareness of the need to improve Refugee Oral Health through international policy collaboration. 2. Identify effective policymaking solutions that will lead to improved Refugee Oral Health. 3. Create policy proposals and new initiatives for implementation into the existing health and relief programs of those agencies involved in the administration and management of Refugee populations, including the health authorities of the host country, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and other relief agencies.

Keywords: Refugees, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I created and conducted this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Oral Health Poster Session I
See more of: Oral Health