WHO Encourages Better Support for the Growing Number of People Living with Dementia

According to a new UN health agency research released on Thursday, more than 55 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and the number is growing. The report also states that just one-quarter of the world’s countries have national policies, strategies, or support plans in place. 

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Status Report on the Public Health Response to Dementia, half of all nations providing appropriate support are located in Europe. 

Many programmes are about to expire or have already expired throughout Europe, emphasizing the need for renewed government commitments. 

Dementia is caused by a range of brain disorders and accidents, including Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Memory and other cognitive processes, as well as the capacity to conduct daily chores, are all affected. 

Dementia-related impairment is a major source of expenditures connected with the disease. The worldwide price tag was predicted at $1.3 trillion in 2019, rising to $1.7 trillion by 2030, or $2.8 trillion when care costs are factored in. 

Simultaneously, the report notes that the number of persons living with dementia is on the rise. 

The research recommends that support for people with dementia and those who care for them be increased at the national level, in both formal and informal settings. 

This covers both community-based and professional services, as well as long-term and palliative care. 

According to the World Health Organization, dementia is caused by a number of brain disorders and injuries, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke (WHO). 

While 89 percent of countries reporting to WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory (GDO) state they provide some community-based dementia care, high-income countries reimburse medicine, hygiene items, assistive devices, and household adaptations. 

According to the report, the type and level of services given by the health and social care sectors also impact the level of informal support supplied mostly by family members. 

While social care costs account for more than a third of the total cost of dementia, informal care accounts for around half of the total cost. 

Informal care accounts for 65 percent of costs in poor and middle-income nations, while it accounts for about 40 percent in higher-income ones. 

A string of failed clinical trials for therapies, combined with expensive research and development expenses, has resulted in a reluctance to conduct additional research. 

However, according to the GDO, funding for Alzheimer’s disease research in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and other high-income countries has increased recently, with annual investment in Alzheimer’s disease research in the United States increasing from $631 million in 2015 to an estimated $2.8 billion in 2020. 

Dementia research initiatives must have a defined direction and be more coordinated to have a better probability of success. This is why WHO is creating the Dementia Research Blueprint, a worldwide coordinating tool to organize research activities and spur new projects. 

Despite the fact that only two-thirds of nations reporting to the GDO “rarely” include persons with dementia in their studies, WHO recommended that patients, as well as their caregivers and relatives, be included in future research endeavors. 

Meanwhile, the research stated that governments in all regions have made progress in conducting public awareness programmes to enhance dementia awareness. 

Two-thirds of those who have reported to the GDO have conducted public awareness initiatives. 

Two-thirds have taken steps to increase social and physical accessibility for individuals with dementia, as well as providing training and instruction to people outside the care sector, such as law enforcement, fire departments, and first responders. 

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