The Platform launches its 2024-2029 Manifesto in the European Parliament

The long-awaited 2024-2029 Platform Manifesto was officially launched at the European Parliament today. Over 40 attendees joined the Platform Chairs, the Dental Officer at the WHO, representatives of civil society and EU policymakers to discuss the relevance of oral health for general health and hear about the 6 policy asks included in the Manifesto.

A common risk factor approach, combating health inequalities, and ambitious asks for EU policymakers and EU Member States lay the foundation of our upcoming work. The Manifesto is the perfect representation of the Platform’s expertise, passion and ambitions to improve all European citizens’ health and wellbeing.

Heartfelt and expert contributions marked the interventions of the first panel on the need to drive a common risk factor approach to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and to promote oral health. George Tsakos (Immediate Past-Chair of the Platform) brilliantly moderated the exchange of views between Benoit Varenne (Dental Officer at the WHO), Florence Berteletti (Secretary General at Eurocare), and Nigel Carter (CEO at the Oral Health Foundation). A key argument was how much oral conditions are neglected and prevalent among NCDs – representing the most prevalent NCD in Europe – despite being largely preventable from an early stage. Oral health is a crucial pillar of people’s wellbeing, allowing them to properly eat, breathe, and smile, and as such it must be included in all policies.

The Platform set out ambitious goals to achieve and outlined the next steps in the 2024-2029 Manifesto. Presented by an enthusiastic Dympna Kavanagh, who has just taken over as Chair of the Platform, the Manifesto stresses why oral health is so important, focusing on its rooted connections with all other major NCDs, on the inequalities that derive from different social and economic backgrounds, and the massive burden on healthcare systems and individuals that oral conditions cause.

As a consequence, the Platform asks EU policymakers to

  1. Place oral conditions at the heart of the EU’s ambitions to tackle the rising burden of NCDs;
  2. Include preventive oral products within the EU’s Critical Medicines initiative;
  3. Dedicate funding from EU programmes such as EU4Health and Horizon Europe towards research in oral health.

In addition, the Platform recognises the crucial role that Member States have in healthcare and therefore asks EU policymakers to support Member States to

  1. Promote and encourage the adoption of best practices which have successfully improved oral health;
  2. Support the implementation of the WHO Global Action Plan on Oral Health 2023-2030;
  3. Facilitate the implementation of integrated healthcare teams and a primary care workforce which can cater to the needs of the population.

The WHO confirmed the full alignment of the Platform Manifesto with the WHO Global Action Plan on Oral Health and endorsed it, as well as Eurocare, whose Secretary General highlighted the completeness and timeliness of the document. Finally, MEP Stelios Kympouropoulos (EPP, Greece), MEP István Ujhelyi (S&D, Hungary), and MEP Deirdre Clune (EPP, Ireland) also expressed their satisfaction with the content and purposes of the Manifesto, encouraging all participants to continue to engage at full capacity with the upcoming European Parliament to maintain the momentum around NCDs high.

We thank everyone for their support, encouragement and endorsement of the Manifesto, and are proud to be working hard towards common goals.