International news

What’s happening in hygiene beyond the borders of the United States? Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, provides an update on the international scene for hygienists.

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Information is the foundation for the World Health Organization (WHO) as a knowledge-based organization. Managing information requires tactical approaches and policies to support the generation, sharing, and use of this information. For information to support policy and decision making, enhance transparency and improve accountability, it must be timely, accurate and complete. Knowledge generated with public funds should be available to everyone, without restrictions.(1)

A new policy on open access was announced in January 2014 and will take effect in July 2014. The policy will apply to all WHO-authored or WHO-funded research published in non-WHO publications, such as external journals and books. For more information, contact openaccess@who.int.

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As a gift from the heart and a “Sweet Treat,” free preventive prophylaxes will be offered in the Port Hope and Area as Part of ‘Gift From the Heart’ Event.(2) Three local dental hygienists will be joining colleagues across Canada in the sixth-annual Gift From the Heart Day on Saturday, February 8. The event sees dental hygienists offer their skills free-of-charge to help those who cannot afford dental treatment. By doing this, dental hygienists want to boost access to dental care and highlight the link between oral health and overall health. Kudos to you! “An Idea is formed from our Head and comes from the HEART and is Gifted through our Hands. We are Dental Hygienists and TOGETHER we can make a difference ... One Smile at a Time!”(2)

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In Africa, the Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) on 21 January 2014.(3)

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The main objective of the Convention is to decrease the demand and supply of tobacco and tobacco products. It is the first international treaty negotiated in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation. Sixty-three per cent of all deaths worldwide are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), for which tobacco use is one of the greatest risk factors. Since tobacco is the largest single preventable risk factor for almost all non-communicable diseases, ratification of FCTC will help Ethiopia tackle the growing burden of NCDs in the country. It will also speed up the implementation of legislations to enforce and protect the public from exposure tobacco, as well as to reduce demand and supply of tobacco products.

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Also in Africa, The Republic of Namibia, has a generalized HIV epidemic with a prevalence of approximately 13 percent as of 2010/2011.(4) Because only 50 percent of women and 32 percent of men had ever been tested for HIV and received their results as of 2006, the Government of Namibia has implemented strategies to increase access and demand for HIV counseling and testing (HCT).(5) Self-testing for HIV, which can be performed by a client in the privacy of his or her home, is a noninvasive and convenient method of determining possible HIV infection. However, such a test would not confer a diagnosis of HIV; any results must be confirmed in a clinical setting with proper counseling and referral to care and treatment services, as necessary. With a published report, AIDSTAR-One aims to inform policymakers, donors, and other stakeholders’ decision making about the potential for private pharmacies in Namibia to increase access to HIV testing.

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Also in Africa, Morocco is one of the 9 countries in WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region to have adopted a national plan to fast-track development on maternal and child health over the past year.(6) The Moroccan plan, which runs up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline, was launched by the Moroccan Minister of Health, His Excellency Dr. El Houssaine Louardi, and Dr. Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, on 13 November 2013 in Rabat. Morocco has already made considerable headway in reducing deaths among mothers and children. The country’s maternal mortality ratio fell by 67% between 1990 and 2010 and the under-five mortality rate dropped by 60% between 1990 and 2011.(6) The new plan aims to bring about even faster progress. It sets the country on course to achieve reductions in under-five and maternal mortality of 70% and 82%, respectively, from the 1990 levels by 2015. Read more in the WHO report.(6)

In Pakistan, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has come up with a plan to attack the problem of polio, which is still a huge threat. ‘Sehat Ka Insaf’ program to be launched in Peshawar this month is the creation of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.(7) Under the program, the health department will also hold free medical camps where vouchers for free checkups and free medicines will be provided to people. Each child will receive vitamin A drops. Each family will receive hygiene kit, including soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, towel, water container, etc. The campaign will be run by over 12,500 volunteers. ‘Sehat Ka Insaf’ is a complete health package for KP children, and will cover other diseases as well as polio.(7)

And lastly, the International Academy of Oral Oncology (IAOC) brings together clinicians and scientists working in the field of oral oncology. The official journal is Head and Neck, and they have various meeting throughout the world, some in the USA. Visit the website for more information.(8)

References
1. http://www.who.int/about/who_reform/change_at_who/issue4/information-sharing/en/index.html#.UvAgIPldWSp.
2. http://www.giftfromtheheart.ca/.
3. http://www.afro.who.int/en/ethiopia/press-materials/item/6221-ethiopia-ratifies-who-framework-convention-on-tobacco-control.html.
4. Ministry of Health and Social Services [MOHSS] 2012.
5. ASSESSMENT OF OVER-THECOUNTER HIV RAPID TEST KITS IN NAMIBIA. http://www.aidstar-one.com/sites/default/files/AIDSTAR-One_Report_Namibia_OTC_Rapid_Test_Kits.pdf.
6. http://www.who.int/features/2014/morocco-maternal-health/en/.
7. http://www.dawn.com/news/1084354/sehat-ka-insaf-a-complete-health-package-for-kp-children.
8. http://iaoo.pro/en/.

Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

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