THURSDAY, 12 APRIL 2012
PHILIPSBURG–A report, titled “Dementia: A Public Health Priority” that was prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) was presented to Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever by St. Maarten Alzheimer Foundation President Keith Franca on Wednesday .
De Weever said he and his ministry are seeking to synchronize efforts via a joint plan of action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which he hopes will be executed in the coming months.
The report called for promoting a dementia-friendly society globally, making dementia a national public health and social care priority worldwide, improving public and professional attitudes to, and understanding of dementia, investing in health and social systems to improve care and services for people with dementia and their caregivers, and increasing the priority given to dementia in the public health research agenda.
The new report also calls on governments, policymakers and other stakeholders to make dementia a global public health priority. It provides the most authoritative overview of the impact of dementia worldwide. In addition to valuable practices and practical case studies from around the world, it contains the most comprehensive collection of data, including hard-to-get statistics from low- and middle-income countries, thereby dramatically underscoring that this is truly a global problem and not just a “disease of the industrial world.”
In her foreword, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan called the report “a major contribution to our understanding of dementia and its impact on individuals, families and society.” She called upon all stakeholders to “make health and social care systems informed and responsive to this impending threat.”
Marc Wortmann of ADI underscored the urgency of action. “With its devastating impact on people with dementia, their families, their communities and national health systems, dementia represents not only a public health crisis but a social and fiscal nightmare as well.”
Around the world, a new case of dementia arises every four seconds. That’s a staggering growth rate, equivalent to 7.7 million new cases of dementia every year – equal in number to the populations ofSwitzerlandandIsrael.
St. Maarten Alzheimer Foundation welcomes the WHO/ADI report.
Research and data about the impact of dementia in St. Maarten are not yet available, according to the foundation’s statement. “But with this global report on the impact of dementia in the world, we can get government to address dementia as a national health priority.”
The foundation added that government can ask for international assistance and cooperation to early detection and fight dementia, among which the most common is Alzheimer’s disease.