News Release

World governments still failing to tackle the increasing growth of dementia

Geneva, 21 May 2019

A new report by ADI reveals that, on the second anniversary of the Wrold Health Organization (WHO)'s Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025, only 18 percent of WHO Member States have national dementia plans, a shortfall of 120 plans.

World governments are failing to address the dementia crisis according to a new report out today from Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).

On the two-year anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025, the primary target to have 146 of the 194 Member States develop a national response plan to dementia, is falling further behind.

Globally only 31 national plans exist, including just 26 WHO Member States, while up to 34 are in development. In the last two years only two countries (Chile and Qatar) have created plans, meaning at the current rate the 2025 target will not be reached.

“Two years on from the commitment made by 194 countries at the World Health Assembly, the pace of progress is still too slow. World governments must recognise the crisis we’re facing now and proactively work to ensure they’re prepared for the dementia emergency at a national level,” said Paola Barbarino, CEO of ADI.

“Some governments are doing well, creating, funding, deploying and monitoring plans that are world leading and can inspire other, including Japan, South Korea, England and Scotland, but it is not enough. National plans on dementia take time to develop and are essential in achieving the tangible actions required to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and care partners.

“We are seeing development in keys areas like risk reduction research, however, the search for disease modifying treatments continues to be underfunded and the application of better care interventions remains elusive. In the meantime millions of people living with dementia and their families are under terrible strain.”

The recommendations come from a report by ADI, which was released at its official side event to the 72nd World Health Assembly, “Why we all need to do more: Examining the seven action areas of the Global action plan on dementia” on May 21 in Geneva.

In 2017, the WHO adopted the Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 at the 70th World Health Assembly. The first target in the Global action plan is for 75 per cent of WHO’s 194 Member States to have developed or updated national policies, strategies, plans or frameworks for dementia by 2025.

Notes to editors:

Dementia is one of the most significant global health and social crises in the 21st century, yet too often diagnosis is made late. There is no cure for dementia. Deaths due to dementia more than doubled between 2000 and 2016, making it the fifth leading cause of global deaths in 2016 compared to the 14th in 2000. In some countries it is the leading cause of death.

Despite its prevalence, dementia is a silent killer, as stigma continues to be a major barrier to diagnosis, treatment and care. Moreover, dementia’s prevalence is growing rapidly as the global population ages.

At ADI’s side event, delegates from many countries will hear from key speakers from high, middle- and low-income countries about their experiences in developing plans, the barriers, the successes, the frustration and the hope.

About Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI)

Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) is the international federation of Alzheimer associations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. Each member is the Alzheimer association in their country who support people living with dementia and their families. ADI's vision is prevention, care and inclusion today, and cure tomorrow. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. ADI works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for persons with dementia and their care partners, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change | Tel: +44 20 79810880 | Email: | Twitter: @AlzDisInt