The strand of the MalDent Project which relates to development of an oral health policy for Malawi is now underway. It had always been our intention to work closely with the WHO. Benoit Varenne, who is the Dental Officer in the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) Department at the WHO in Geneva, is aware of the MalDent Project, and has also taken a keen interest in Scotland’s Childsmile programme.
On Wednesday 3rd December our formal links with WHO African Region were established, when we held a Skype meeting between Yuka Makino in Brazzaville, Peter Chimimba at the College of Medicine in Blantyre, and Lorna Macpherson, David Conway and myself in Glasgow. Yuka is the Technical Officer for Oral Health in the WHO Regional Office for Africa.
The Skype meeting was extremely positive. We were able to explain to Yuka the background to the MalDent Project, the progress we have made to date and our future plans. Yuka agreed to communicate with the WHO Country Office in Malawi and we had initial discussions around the establishment of an MOU. We also gave consideration to the potential for our involvement with work on the broader WHO Regional Oral Health Strategy.
In February 2020, Lorna Macpherson and I will be visiting Malawi for several days of discussions with key stakeholders involved in the work to develop the oral health policy. Yuka has agreed that she will join us for that visit, thereby ensuring that the WHO is involved from a very early stage. This partnership working is critical to success and we look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration.