Congratulations to the Indian Dental Association and the city of New Delhi, which will be hosting the 2014 FDI World Dental Congress (AWDC). For those not familiar with FDI World Dental Federation, it is the international voice of dentists, representing some 200 national dental associations and specialist groups, speaking on behalf of the dentists at international level and defending the interests of the profession.
It was set up in Paris in the year 1900 with the specific aim of organizing dental congresses to bring together members of the dental profession from all horizons. Today, it is still fulfilling that crucial function, although its aims and activities have considerably widened. The 2014 AWDC will be the 102nd in a series spanning more than a century.
This will be the second AWDC held in New Delhi; the first was held in 2004, only 10 years ago. So you may ask - why India, why now? The answer is that India is one of the world’s largest growth markets for dental skills and dental products. Every year some 25,000 newly-trained dentists graduate from the country’s nearly 300 institutes offering dental qualifications schools – so a quarter of a million have graduated since the last New Delhi AWDC.
Furthermore, India is today one of Asia’s and the world’s largest and fastest growing economies, with a dynamic dental sector. According to a report by Cygnus Business Consulting and Research, by the FDI congress year in 2014, the Indian dental equipments industry is expected to be valued at over USD 116 million, the dental care services market at USD 1.16 billion and the oral care market at USD 1.8 billion! These are truly remarkable figures.
FDI views oral health as a fundamental human right; so it is heartened to see that factors such as water fluoridation, the use of fluoride toothpaste and a growing awareness of dental hygiene have translated into improvements in the oral health of Indians over the past two decades. However, diseases such as dental caries and oral cancers remain public health issues and we hope that the 2014 FDI AWDC will give a boost to the Indian government’s plan of ‘Oral Health for All by 2020’.
What makes the FDI AWDC special? We all learn our profession in our national dental schools; we all have ‘our way’ of carrying out procedures, which, in our view, is the best way. But, the purpose of an international event is not to make value judgments about methods: it is to share knowledge and experience with our peers worldwide, challenge our pre-conceived ideas and widen our perceptions. This is even more essential today with the worldwide migrations of dentists and patients.
FDI is very much looking forward to the 2014 World Dental Congress. We anticipate an exceptional participation in what we, and our partners IDA, plan to make a truly exceptional event, internationally, nationally and for the whole South Asia region.