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Dementia must be global health priority, says WHO

Dementia costs £380 billion per year worldwide, report finds

Jo Carlowe

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Governments and policy makers across the world must make dementia a global public health priority.

This is the message from a new report published today by the World Health Organisation and Alzheimer’s Disease International.

Dementia: ‘A Public Health Priority’  looks at the impact of dementia across the world. It includes examples of best practise, as well as statistics about dementia from around the globe. The report calls on countries to promote a dementia friendly society, improve attitudes to and understanding of dementia, invest in health and social systems and increase dementia research.

Key statistics from the report include the fact that there are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year or a new case of dementia somewhere in the world every four seconds. And yet only eight of 194 WHO member states has a national dementia plan in place.

The worldwide cost of dementia is estimated at £380 billion per year

Commenting on the report the Alzheimer’s Society said: “Two weeks ago, for the first time a British Prime Minister made a personal commitment to drive forward change to transform the lives of 800,000 people with dementia in the UK. This is enormous progress, but it is the beginning of the road. We must now focus our efforts on translating these commitments into better diagnosis and support, increased understanding and advancements in research.

“Today the World Health Organisation is calling for the global fight against dementia to begin. World leaders everywhere must take steps to conquer the enormous challenge of dementia. If we take action now, we can transform millions of lives.”

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