|5 SEPTEMBER 2021 /|
According to a UN Health Agency Report released on 2 September 2021, more than 55 million people are living with dementia and that number continues to grow and many countries have no policies or strategies to tackle the grave situations.
“Dementia robs millions of people of their memories, independence and dignity, but it also robs the rest of us of the people we know and love”, the WHO Chief said on the need for a concerted action to ensure support and care to be given at national and international levels.
“Dementia is caused by a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke. It affects memory and other cognitive functions, as well as the ability to perform everyday tasks”, the UN release says.
· Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and mainly affects older people
· It is a syndrome that leads to deterioration in cognitive function, the ability to process thought
. It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning, language and judgement
· It has physical, psychological, social and economic impacts for the carers, families and society too
· Reduce the risk of dementia, support for dementia carers, research and innovations are to be prioritized
WHO recognizes dementia as a public health priority and provides a comprehensive blueprint for action for policy makers.
An international surveillance platform, the Global Dementia Observatory (GDO) has been already established for policy makers and researchers.
The Global Action Plan 2017-2025 aims to improve the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families providing a set of actions to live a life with meaning and dignity.
Dementia has a disproportionate impact on women as nearly 65 per cent of total deaths due to dementia are women. Moreover, women provide the majority of informal care for people living with dementia.
WHO specifically reports that people with dementia are frequently denied basic rights and freedoms and should ensure the highest quality of care for the patients and their carers.
The WHO estimates that 8.1 per cent of women and 5.4 per cent of men over age 65 currently live with the condition and it is estimated that it will rise to 78 million by 2030 and to 139 million by 2050.
Community based services as well as specialists and palliative care must be strengthened at national and international levels to address the disease.