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Letters to the Editor, June 2003

I Introduction
II Response to OHPE 310.1, "Access to Oral Health Services"
III Response to OHPE 312.1, "An Overview of Chronic Disease Prevention"

I. Introduction

Writing in response to our May feature on oral health (http://www.ohpe.ca/ebulletin/ViewFeatures.cfm?ISSUE_ID=310&startrow=1), Robert Bowes points out some recent media coverage and work by individuals, coalitions or groups, as well as indicating an interest in hearing from people active in the field.

Jen Macdonald shares two recent articles related to chronic disease prevention in response to OHPE 312.1 (http://www.ohpe.ca/ebulletin/ViewFeatures.cfm?ISSUE_ID=312&startrow=1).

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II Response to OHPE 310.1, "Access to Oral Health Services"

Dear Editor:

A brief note to tell you how informative and timely I found the May 16th OHPE Bulletin on Access to Oral Health Services. The following may be of interest to your subscribers:

On Saturday , May 24th there was a feature article in the National Post on the issue of accessible dental care. This article gave a brief national perspective.

There was a lead editorial on Monday, May 26th in the Belleville Intelligencer entitled "Lack of Dental Care - Great Divide". This
editorial was written from a provincial and local perspective.

As a public health dental consultant in eastern Ontario I have been
actively involved with the Kingston Coalition for Dental Care which is a "community based coalition committed to ensuring that everyone has access to dental care regardless of age, circumstance or income".

I am also in contact with the Program Co-ordinator of the recently
established Dental Care For All - Skills and Initiatives Projects in
Smiths Falls. This organization is interested in implementing a dental treatment program for low-income earners in the County of Lanark.

Also, it appears that a coalition will soon be forming in Peterborough
with a similar mission.

All these groups/coalitions have contact with the Toronto Coalition and it is expected that there will be a sharing of information, strategies, etc.

I would be interested in receiving information from any other individuals, coalitions or groups who/which share the same concerns for accessible dental care.

Thank you.

Robert Bowes DDS MPH
Dental Consultant
[email protected]

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III Response to OHPE 312.1, "An Overview of Chronic Disease Prevention"

There is an outstanding piece of research done by Genuine Progress Index (GPI Atlantic on the Costs of Chronic Disease in Nova Scotia. Colman includes a major section on socioeconomic determinants of chronic disease i.e. such as poverty, inequality, poor education, and environmental causes, as well as lifestyle focused causes such as inactivity, tobacco use, poor nutrition. Colman observes that low-income women are more likely to be hospitalized than higher income women. Those without a high school diploma see physicians more often than those with a Bachelor's degree, thus the excess health care
services use due to income inequality costs Nova Scotia $27.5 million a year.

See: Colman, R., (2002, Oct).The Costs of Chronic Diseases in Nova Scotia. GPI Atlantic. Retrieved, from the World Wide Web:
http://gov.ns.ca/health/downloads/chronic.pdf

In regards to global burden of disease, poverty within developing nations and income inequality between developed and underdeveloped nations is a major cause of preventable deaths such as maternal and infant mortality, and chronic communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDs and Tuberculosis among many others. The global burden of non-communicable chronic diseases is mostly a developed country problem at the moment. However, "by 2020 it is predicted that non-communicable diseases will account for 80% of the global burden of disease, causing 7 out of every 10 deaths in developing countries, compared with less than half today" (Brundtland, 2002, p39). The main message in Brundtland's article is that the health of individuals impacts the health of communities and their nation; countries can't strive to compete in a global competitive market, when their citizens are ill and dying from effects of poverty inflicted upon them due mostly to the consumer-orientation of developed societies. "The global community is starting to realize that it has no choice but to unite to alleviate the disease and poverty suffered by the three billion people who live on less than US$2 a day" (Brundtland, 2002, p40).

See Brundtland, G.H. (2002). Health and Development: A Sustainable Approach. ISUMA, Vol 3, No 2, p37-42.

Jen Macdonald MHSc
Research Assistant
School of Health Policy & Management Rm 202a
Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies
York University, 4700 Keele St. Toronto ON M3J 1P3
tel: 416-736-2100 Ex. 22171
fax: 416-736-5227
[email protected]

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Our introduction to the Letters to the Editor column can be found in the OHPE News section of OHPE 268.0, http://www.ohpe.ca/ebulletin/ ViewAnnouncements.cfm?ISSUE_ID=268&startrow=1.

Our full submission guidelines are on our website at http://www.ohpe.ca/ ebulletin/submit.html.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Editorial and Management Team of the OHPE
[email protected]