Today marks the 7th World Alzheimer’s Month – the global campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma. This year, we wanted to emphasize the sheer scale of the global health epidemic that is dementia, as well as the fact that behind the 50 million people living with dementia globally, there is a voice, a story, and family and friends who are also affected. The number of people who develop dementia chillingly increases every three seconds. Therefore, the slogan for this year’s campaign is ‘Every 3 seconds’.
Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and our members around the world continue to face uphill challenges. It has been one year since the adoption of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) landmark Global Plan of Action on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025, but now more than ever we need strong global advocacy to ensure that governments implement and fund national dementia plans. Progress towards the WHO’s target of 146 national dementia plans by 2025 has been slow. If we are to make real progress towards addressing stigma and supporting those living with dementia, we need every government to develop awareness of and access to diagnosis for dementia.
And the benefits of implementing dementia-focused public health and social care policies will be felt directly by governments – the economic cost of dementia in 2018 alone was US$1 trillion, a figure that is estimated to double by 2030. Governments have an obligation to support the 50 million people currently living with dementia, and their families, which, again, is projected to increase exponentially to 152 million by 2050.
This World Alzheimer’s Month, we are also calling on governments to invest a minimum of 1% of the societal cost of dementia to funding research in basic science, care improvements, prevention and risk reduction, drug development and public health.
This call is reinforced by our World Alzheimer’s Report 2018, released today. The report, ‘The State of the art of dementia research: New frontiers’, takes a novel approach, focusing on what the leading lights in dementia research perceive to be the biggest areas of hope and difficulties in dementia research. ADI commissioned broadcast journalist Christina Patterson to interview over 20 leading researchers from nine countries and write the report; accordingly, it is in an accessible, journalistic style. One thought-provoking finding of the report is that for every 12 publications on cancer there is only one on cognitive disorders.
All over the world people are helping spread these messages through thousands of activities. Join the World Alzheimer’s Month campaign by using the hashtags #WorldAlzMonth and #Every3seconds and visiting https://www.worldalzmonth.org/ to get involved.
ADI are partners with BMC and you can view the latest research published here.