WHO REPORT ON DEMENTIA
“People with dementia should be involved in all stages to create a
Positive dementia society.”(1)
-Berrie Holtzhausen, Namibia
WHO published a report named “Global Status Report on the general public Health Response to Dementia”.(1) The report highlighted the challenges that people suffering from dementia encountered in all spheres of their lives whether personal or professional. According to the report, there will be a spike in the cases of dementia around 78 million people suffers from dementia by 2030, and 139 million by 2050 cost the world $1.3 trillion a year. WHO warns steady increase in dementia cases in coming decades as the aging population increases and problems associated with it also enhances and dementia is one such. Dementia is a neurological a disorder that affects cognition such as loss of memory, language, problem-solving, learning capacity, orientation, and other thinking abilities that can severely affect daily functioning. Dementia mostly affects people aged between 65years and above but it can also impact people in their 30s and 40s which is alarming for the world. There is no treatment but studies indicate that nearly 40% of cases can be avoided or delayed by adopting healthy lifestyles such as being physically active, maintaining a healthy diet, healthy weight-maintaining, not smoking, not drinking alcohol, removing stressors, avoiding junk food, etc. According to the United Nations Health Agency presently more than 50 million people suffer from dementia causing memory loss and cognition failure among them more than 8% are women and 5 % are men over the age of 65. WHO said that dementia is unavoidable but some risk factors can be reduced by controlling tension, diabetes, depression, use of alcohol and other drugs, etc.
Katrin See, from the WHO mental health and substance department, told that More than 60% of the people living with dementia were in low and middle-income countries. She added we need to bridge gaps that exist between high-income and low and middle-income countries and also between rural and urban areas. The low and middle-income countries are less prepared than the high-income countries to provide service, help, and care to people suffering from dementia. She also added that healthcare facilities like Medication, Hygiene products, and household adjustments for dementia patients are more easily accessible and available in wealthy and developing countries.
International efforts are to address dementia starting from 2012 where WHO launched a report Dementia: a public health priority in collaboration with Alzheimer’s disease International (ADI) In 2013 The United Kingdom hosts G811 summit on dementia followed by G712 legacy events. In 2014-15 G7 legacy events on dementia in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. In the year 2015 First Ministerial Conference on Global Action against Dementia. In 2017 Global action plan on the general public health response to dementia 2017–2025 Launch of WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory (GDO). In 2019 G2013 Osaka Leaders’ declaration committing to a “comprehensive set of policies to address dementia, including promoting risk reduction and sustainable provision of future care also as inclusive societies getting to improve quality of lives of people with dementia and carers”.(1)
According to the Global Dementia Action Plan some of the Areas for action includes; making dementia a public health priority through policy and legislation; raising dementia awareness and inclusion; reducing the risk of dementia; improving dementia diagnosis, treatment, and care; developing support and services for dementia carers; strengthening health information systems for dementia; and fostering research and innovative technologies.
The need of the hour is to support old aged population who largely suffers from Dementia. Developed and developing countries should work in coordination to support people suffering or likely to suffer from dementia. Coordination from all stakeholders the government, family members, NGOs, community participation, as well as individual responsibility should be taken up. There’s a famous saying that precaution is better than care so precautionary measures should be taken up for the upcoming and presently old age population in the form of a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet, and most importantly mental well-being.