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WHO calls on governments to implement policies to support people with dementia

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World Health Organization leaders at a press briefing on COVID-19, held on March 6 at WHO headquarters in Geneva. Here’s a look at its history, its mission and its role in the current crisis.

The WHO has called on governments to renew commitments and implement national policies to support people with dementia.

According to the World Health Organization, only a quarter of countries worldwide have set up national policy, strategy or plan to support people with dementia and their families. This is according to the WHO’s ‘Global status report on the public health response to dementia.

The report, which was released today, Wednesday 2nd September, revealed that half of the countries with policies aimed at supporting people with dementia are in WHO’s European Region, while the others are spread amongst other Regions.

In addition, the WHO estimates that more than 55 million people are currently living with dementia and the number is estimated to rise to 78 million by 2030 and to 139 million by 2050, signifying that the number of people living with dementia is rapidly growing.

The organization has highlighted the urgent need to strengthen support at national level, both in terms of care for people with dementia, and in support for the people who provide that care, in both formal and informal settings.

Dementia is caused by a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke, which affects memory and other cognitive functions, as well as the ability to perform everyday tasks.

According to the Director-General of the WHO, “Dementia robs millions of people of their memories, independence, and dignity, but it also robs the rest of us of the people we know and love.

The world is failing people with dementia, and that hurts all of us. Four years ago, governments agreed a clear set of targets to improve dementia care. But targets alone are not enough. We need concerted action to ensure that all people with dementia are able to live with the support and dignity they deserve.”

The organization announced that it is developing the Dementia Research Blueprint, a global coordination mechanism to provide structure to research efforts and stimulate new initiatives.

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