- The 2018 WHO dementia plan focuses on the urgent need for a multi-phased approach and a multi-sectoral policy response to address the needs of people with dementia, their carers and families. The rapid increase in ageing population across countries requires national strategies to deal with age-related diseases — dementia care is becoming a significant issue.
Facts & Figures:
- According to the WHO, it affects 50 million people worldwide; a number that is projected to increase to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050.
- According to some estimates, one person gets affected by dementia every three seconds.
- Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment that affects memory and other cognitive abilities and significantly interferes with a person’s ability to perform daily activities
- Data from many parts of the world reveals age as a risk factor for dementia — though the debilitating condition is not an inevitable consequence of ageing
Social stigma related to dementia
- Studies have revealed how the stigma attached to the disease leads to the social isolation of patients, their families and careers
- Research has thrown light on the deterioration in the quality of their lives
- Studies that draw on interactions with people affected by dementia, their families and caregivers indicate that several of the needs of such people — social, economic or those related to health — remain unfulfilled
- For instance, leave concessions at work, adaptable housing environments, adequate diagnostic facilities, treatment options, care provisions and risk reduction measures for people with dementia are not in place
- Many require psychological support, biomedical facilities, appropriate medications, counselling services and end of life care. But these are not available
WHO action plan on dementia
- The complexity of needs cutting across health, economic and social sector requires attention and policy responses
- 2018 WHO dementia plan focuses on the urgent need for a multi-phased approach and a multi-sectoral policy response to address the needs of people with dementia, their carers and families
- Over a year ago, the World Health Assembly in Geneva adopted the Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025
- India endorsed the plan, confirming its commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families
Policy action that needs to be taken in India
- The country’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals — especially with respect to Goal 3 that deals with good health and well being — and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should push it into formulating a strategy to deal with this debilitating condition
- Such a plan should incorporate public awareness campaigns and research
- As the percentage of aged people in the country increases, improving the lives of people with dementia and their families and careers must become a national priority
- These programmes could be aligned with existing policies and care models.