WHO Plan for Dementia Includes More Research, Education, and Early Detection. Image Credit: Tom Page

Representatives from up to 192 countries met in May for the 70th World Health Assembly. Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) discussed plans regarding vaccines, medicines that do not meet quality standards, and a global drug crisis, among other health related issues. One of the major topics at the Assembly was the need for a public health response to dementia.

According to the WHO, around 47 million people worldwide have dementia. Many of these people do not receive adequate care or treatment. The new plan adopted by the WHO aims to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their families and caregivers. The goals of the plan are to reduce the risk of dementia, improve and speed up detection and treatment, expand research, explore new treatment technologies, and create more support for carers.

Dementia awareness activists and organizations campaigned and worked closely with the UN and WHO representatives to put a spotlight on the illness.They stressed the importance of ensuring dignity and human rights for people living with dementia, and proposed new public awareness campaigns and dementia friendly initiatives.

Kate Swaffer, CEO and founder of dementia awareness organization, Dementia Alliance International, responded to the WHO’s dementia plan with a call to action: “[I]t is now up to all of us to campaign and work together collaboratively to ensure all people with dementia and our families are treated with the same rights and equal access to health, disability support, dignity and health care, and are included the same way as every other person in society.”

Read the WHO press release here.

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