Jessurun urges Paho-meeting to establish dementia plans

POSTED: 09/21/12 1:14 PM

GREAT BAY- The 28th Pan American Sanitary Conference in Washington D.C ends today on a positive note for St.Maarten in two areas. Firstly, St.Maarten was accepted as an associate member of the Pan American Health Organization on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday afternoon newly appointed Paho/WHO representative of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) drs. Raymond Jessurun addressed international health officials and public health ministers from Caricom and Latin American countries.

“More than 8 million persons in this region today (worldwide 36 million) are living with dementia, roughly the same number as those living with HIV/Aids. The largest numbers of these have Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder, which creates memory loss, confusion, disorientation to time and place, and which, when it progresses, leaves the person unable to work or care for themselves over the course of several years. Left unsolved, this number in the region will almost double by 2030 to 15 million (and worldwide to 65 million). The largest amount of that growth will occur in lower and middle income countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, with related economic hardship and challenges at the family and health care systems level,” Jessurun told the gathering of public health ministers from across the Region.

He called attention to areas which ADI believes warrant immediate attention and would need the support of Paho.

He said that since dementia and Alzheimer’s are recognized in the “United Nations high level meeting political declaration on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) issues surrounding the diseases ought to be outlined in the proposed strategy for 2012-2025.

“As it stands the document for this plan does not yet include even a mention of the dementia social and health threat as major non-communicable disease in our region,” Jessurun said.

Apart from urging the regional assembly to ensure that national dementia plans are established in their individual countries, Jessurun urged the assembly “to aside time for its own learning and planning about dementia in the region, first through a workshop at Paho headquarters to look at how dementia issues connect to ongoing work, and then a report from staff on the workshop findings to be discussed in your meeting of next year.”

 

 

The NCD strategy should call for dementia surveillance tools, Jessurun suggested, the outcome of which should reduce the number of reported dementia cases.

“When measurement systems are complete, we urge the adoption of an outcome target for dementia: reduce the number of person’s living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia of 25% as with other NCD’s or at least 10% from current projections. This strategic objective promotes and protects the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and other related human rights of this vulnerable group.”

ADI is the global umbrella organization of national Alzheimer associations worldwide and has been in official relations with WHO since 1996. Held every 5 year’s this year’s Sanitary Conference took place in the middle of the first World Alzheimer’s Month organized by ADI with the theme “Dementia: Living Together.”

 

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