Oral health

Oral health information systems

Research for oral health

Research is the systematic process for generating new knowledge. Based on the advances in biomedical and social sciences, public health, and information technology, new concepts will lead to innovative interventions that have a direct impact on diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic, ethical and social aspects of human health and disease. Advances in knowledge, however, have not benefited developing countries to the fullest extent possible. It has been estimated, for example, that only 10% of funding for global health research is allocated to health problems that affect 90% of the world's population. Clear disparities in economic strength, political will, scientific resources and capabilities, and the ability to access global information networks have, in fact, widened the knowledge gap between rich and poor countries.

The WHO Oral Health Programme contributes to the process of redressing the imbalance in the distribution of knowledge about oral health, so that the results of research will benefit everyone, including the poor, in a sustainable and equitable manner. As knowledge is a major vehicle for improving the health of poor people in particular, the WHO Oral Health Programme will focus on stimulating oral health research in the developed and the developing world to reduce risk factors and the burden of oral disease, improve oral health systems and the effectiveness of community oral health programmes. In particular, more research should be devoted to inequity in oral health; the psycho-social implications of oral health/illness; diet, nutrition and oral health; tobacco cessation programmes; oral health - general health - quality of life interrelation-ships, and HIV/AIDS. Building and strengthening research capacity is one of the more effective, efficient and sustainable strategies for developing countries to benefit from advances in knowledge, in particular through promotion of regional or inter-country oral health research networks. The WHO Oral Health Programme intends to stimulate oral health research for, with and by developing countries in different ways:

  • Supporting initiatives that will strengthen research capability in developing countries so that research may be recognized as the foundation of oral health policy.
  • Increased involvement of WHO Collaborating Centres in Oral Health in high-priority areas of research within national, regional or interregional centre networks.
  • Encouraging oral health research training programmes at local level or based on interuniversity collaborative "sandwich" programmes.
  • Providing universities in developing countries with easy access to the scientific literature within oral health and on-line access to scientific articles.
  • Reducing the 10/90 gap in oral health research through work within the framework of the Global Forum for Health Research. This Forum provides support to priority-setting methodologies, dissemination of findings and measurement of results in order to break the vicious circle of "ill health and poverty

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