Association calls for dementia to be made a national priority

POSTED: 04/12/12 12:56 PM

President of the St. Maarten Alzheimer Foundation Keith Franca (left) presents Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever (center) with this year’s annual report by the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) while the foundation’s secretary Raymond Jesurun (left) looks on.

St. Maarten – A report calling on nations to recognize dementia as a public health crisis was presented to Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Cornelius de Weever by the St. Maarten Alzheimer Foundation (SMAF) on Wednesday. The report represents years of research done by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). It was simultaneously released in the 194 countries that are members of the WHO.  SMAF was accepted in March as the 77th member of ADI after being founded in February 2010.

The organisation’s board said that it welcomed the report although no specific research was conducted on St. Maarten. They’ve also recommended that the government make a dementia a health priority, prepare a national Alzheimer’s plan and install a national dementia steering committee. Currently, there are only 8 WHO member states including the Netherlands that have national dementia plans in place.  “Research and data about the impact of dementia in St. Maarten are not yet available. 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. Will the situation in St. Maarten be any different from other countries in the world? Furthermore the government of St. Maarten can ask for international assistance and cooperation for early detection and fighting dementia of which Alzheimer is the most common disease,” the organisation explained.

“We are looking to synchronize our efforts via a joint plan of action, which we hope to execute in the next few months,” de Weever said after receiving the report.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan in her foreword called the report “a major contribution to our understanding of dementia and its impact on individuals, families and society.”  She said the report “provides the knowledge base for a global and national response to facilitate governments, policymakers and other stakeholders to address the impact of dementia as an increasing threat to global health.” Dr. Chan also called upon all stakeholders to “make health and social care systems informed and responsive to this impending threat.”

Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. Some of the key messages coming out of the report include that dementia is not a normal part of aging, an estimated 7.7 million new cases of dementia are diagnosed annually and the disease poses a challenge to health care systems with an estimated 604 billion dollars globally being spent to deal with it. This is expected to increase rapidly especially among middle income and lesser developed countries where the majority of the 35. 6 million people living with dementia are said to reside.

Did you like this? Share it:
Association calls for dementia to be made a national priority by

Comments are closed.