The World Health Organization (WHO) has unanimously adopted a global plan on dementia at the 70th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva. The plan follows ten years of advocacy by ADI for a global response to the growing impact of dementia worldwide.
The adoption of the plan followed positive statements by 21 governments, some of which had established plans on dementia in recent years and others who committed to progress the development of these plans in their countries. Paola Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) addressed the Assembly with a statement, calling the current response to dementia ‘unsustainable’.
“Dementia is becoming the most expensive disease of the 21st century. Hope for the future depends on research. ADI proposes that nationally 1% of the societal cost of dementia should be devoted to funding research in: basic science, care improvements, prevention and risk reduction, drug development and public health."
The plan includes targets for the advancement of dementia awareness, risk reduction, diagnosis, care and treatment, support for care partners and research.
Only 29 governments out of the 194 WHO member states have developed a plan on dementia. The global plan supports the urgent message that governments must implement plans or policies on dementia and that these must be funded, implemented and monitored.
The adoption of the plan follows a successful side event to the Assembly this week, hosted by ADI, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, Dementia Alliance International and Global Alzheimer's and Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA), attended by the WHO, governments, NGOs, civil society and industry including people living with dementia.
Dementia affects 50 million people worldwide – a number that will almost triple by 2050. More than half of all people with dementia live in low and middle income countries, where as few as 10% of individuals receive a diagnosis. In 2018, dementia will become a trillion-dollar disease.