Ghana - Dementia Friendly Communities

Ghana is one of the countries most affected by dementia in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2030, it is expected that the number of people over the age of 60 will increase by 147%. Since 2015, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of Ghana (Alzheimer’s Ghana) has collaborated with over fifty traditional leaders, including Kings, Chiefs, Regents, sub-chiefs and Linguists (the traditional spokesperson for the chief), in the Greater Accra Region on the Dementia PET Project. 

Leaders are invited to pledge to make dementia their ‘pet’ project through:  

  • Supporting Alzheimer’s Ghana to organise education and public talks on dementia in the various communities;
  • Serving as ambassadors for dementia awareness in the local community;
  • Offering direct engagement with the government through the National House of Chiefs, the Ministry of Culture and Chieftaincy and the Council of State;
  • Potentially providing land for developing care centres. 

One example of an awareness-raising activity was a durbar, an event called by a Chief, for the people of Bodada in the Volta Region. The durbar aimed to educate about dementia, raise awareness, and challenge the stigma and abuse of people with dementia. The event was attended by more than 250 people. 

Alzheimer’s Ghana also collaborated with the Theatre Department of the University of Winneba to create a drama on dementia which was performed in 20 local communities across the country to educate community leaders, chiefs and opinion leaders on the difficulties of living with dementia and creating a friendly environment and support for those affected and their families. 

The project also engaged community radio stations to discuss management of dementia. Phone-in programmes were used to discuss common problems associated with dementia and how these were addressed in a better way. 

After the adoption of the global plan on dementia by the WHO, Alzheimer’s Ghana has engaged the government of Ghana and has had a series of positive discussions with the Minister of Health to agree steps to making dementia a public health priority. 

The society continues to actively participate in World Alzheimer’s Month, including holding events with people living with dementia and their families in churches, with the media and local schools and colleges. In the absence of a specific emphasis on dementia friendly, the association is actively engaging the community with the impact of dementia, respect and acknowledgement of those affected.