News Release

Global Alzheimer’s And Dementia Alliance Launched At World Health Assembly In Geneva

London, 19 May 2014

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), Alzheimer’s Society (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and the Department of Health in England are announcing a Global Alzheimer’s and Dementia Action Alliance at an event held on 19th May, during the World Health Assembly in Geneva. The Assembly is the annual meeting of all 193 member countries of the World Health Organization. The three partners aim to foster global collaboration among international NGOs, professional associations, governments and international statutory bodies in an effort to coordinate actions and raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The Alliance will be a response to the call for action of the G8 Summit on Dementia that was held in London in December 2013. The Summit called for increased funding for research, improvement of dementia care and change of the societal attitude towards these diseases, which are among the most serious health and social care challenges of the 21st century. The Alliance will aim to engage with broader civil society organisations to raise more awareness globally and change the attitude to dementia in as many countries as possible. Worldwide, 44 million people have dementia, with almost two thirds living in low- and middle-income countries. Every year, there are 7.7 million new cases. The global cost of dementia was calculated at US$604 billion in the year 2010, which represents 1% of global GDP. No government can ignore the problem but nor can any organisation – dementia is a challenge to us all.

There was also a clear commitment from the summit to reach beyond the G7 countries and to work with WHO and OECD to “support countries to strengthen health and social care systems to improve care and services for people with dementia”.

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt said:

“Dementia is one of our most significant global healthcare challenges and is already affecting more than 44 million people worldwide.

“The Global Dementia and Alzheimer’s Action Alliance is an example of the commitment people and organisations across the world are making to share their ideas and experiences to help support people with dementia and their carers to live independently in their communities for longer.

“In England we have a lot to share - we have doubled funding to find a cure, challenged our National Health Service to improve diagnosis rates and we are working with global leaders and the World Dementia Envoy to stimulate development of new treatments. I am excited to be part of this group which will lead vital international work to raise awareness, improve care and break down the stigma that people with dementia still face.”

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Disease International noted:

“The Global Alzheimer’s and Dementia Action Alliance will be the first global body to bring together government, the health and social care sector, non-profit organisations and the wider civil society to tackle the challenge of dementia. This builds on the Declaration from the G8 dementia summit in 2013, which set out clearly that in order to achieve the summit’s objectives we have to “call upon civil society to continue to enhance global efforts to reduce stigma, exclusion and fear”.”

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society commented:

‘It will take a concerted global effort to tackle dementia. Last December, world leaders meeting in London promised to improve life for people with dementia and as a charity we’ve taken great strides to gear society up to welcome, support and respect people with the condition. However, we can’t do this alone. The fact that a Global Action Alliance is pledging to take action this Dementia Awareness Week, shows progress for the 44 million people across the world currently living with dementia.’

The Alliance will be launched at a side event during the World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday 19th May from 12:45-14:15 in room XXIV at the Palais des Nations where the Assembly takes place. Speakers at this event will be:

  • Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, United Kingdom
  • The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, Canada
  • The Honourable Lormus Bundhoo, Minister of Health and Quality of life, Mauritius
  • Dr. Jacob Roy Kuriakose, Chairman, Alzheimer Disease International, India
  • Cary Adams, Chair Non Communicable Disease Alliance, Geneva
  • Claude Bilat, living with dementia, Switzerland
  • Stefan Seebacher, Head of Health, International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, Geneva
  • Moderator: Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Society, United Kingdom

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Notes to Editors

About Alzheimer’s Disease International

ADI is the international federation of 84 Alzheimer associations throughout the world.  Each of our members is a non-profit Alzheimer association supporting people with dementia and their families.  ADI was founded in 1984 and registered as a non-profit organisation in the USA.  Based in London, ADI has been in official relations with the WHO since 1996 and has consultative status with the UN since 2012. 

ADI's vision is an improved quality of life for people with dementia and their families throughout the world. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. As such, it works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for people with dementia and their family carers, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change from governments.

For more information, visit www.alz.co.uk

About Alzheimer’s Society

  • One in three people over 65 will develop dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051
  • Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them
  • Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Alzheimer’s Society has a plan to deal with dementia. Help us support people to live well today and fight for a world without dementia tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk 
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk