24 January 2014
Letter from the FDI President
Dear FDI members
I have been in Geneva this week (20 to 24 January) to attend several sessions of the World Health Organization Executive Board. I am delighted to inform you that WHO has taken very seriously the anxieties we expressed about the departure of Poul Erik Peterson and doubts over his replacement. Both FDI and WHO agree that oral health is an essential part of WHO’s work.
From my various conversations, I am confident that a process is now underway within WHO to resolve the issue and hope that I will very soon be able to report on the measures it has taken to guarantee a permanent contact for oral health within the organization. FDI will keep working with WHO to ensure appropriate support for oral health; however, WHO’s request for financial support for the oral health position is no longer valid.
I would like to thank all of you for backing our firm commitment in this regard and have no doubt that WHO’s positive response results from our common intense and pro-active lobbying.
I am happy to report that FDI continues to enjoy excellent working relations with WHO and NGOs such as the International Diabetes Federation. For my part, I made a statement on behalf of FDI at the Executive Board about the implementation of the provisions on dental amalgam laid down in the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
During the course of the Executive Board, I had the opportunity to meet briefly with WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan, as illustrated by the picture above with Dr Patrick Hescot, President-elect, and our Executive Director Jean-Luc Eiselé.
I was also delighted to spend these days working with our staff in the office. As we announced in Istanbul, our Geneva office will be moving to a new venue early in March as the last step in our restructuring plan to reduce fixed costs. The new offices are located 200 metres from our current facilities (close to the airport); the address is 51 Avenue Louis Casaï, 1216 Cointrin-Geneva. I am confident that this change will result not only in major cost cutting but will also help our organisation to be more efficient in achieving our mission.
Finally, I am pleased to inform you that the various projects related to a second version of the Oral Health Atlas and the online database on oral health are all moving rapidly forwards. The Task Team for the Observatory project, chaired by Dr Patrick Hescot, has now initiated a pilot in three countries. We should be able to present the first results of these different initiatives in New Delhi.
With kind regards,
Dr Tin Chun Wong