ADI, GADAA and Alzheimer's Pakistan launch report on Dementia in Humanitarian Settings

9 May 2019 – A pioneering new report by ADI, The Global Alzheimer’s & Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA) and Alzheimer's Pakistan has revealed that people with dementia are being ignored in times of humanitarian crisis.

The report, Forgotten in a crisis: Addressing dementia in humanitarian response, revealed that although there are guidelines in place to mandate inclusive support for people at-risk in humanitarian settings, they are rarely being implemented for people with dementia and do not currently go far enough to meet their needs.

In some of the worst cases, lack of rescue efforts, health services and basic necessities have resulted in death as people with dementia are unwittingly overlooked by aid agencies, and governments fail to plan for some of society’s most at-risk citizens.

This report contributes to a growing awareness of the need to address disability in humanitarian settings and is the first report to specifically highlight dementia.  

Paola Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International, said: “There are 50 million people living with dementia globally, 60 per cent in low and middle income countries where diagnosis is low and humanitarian emergencies are widespread. These people are currently ignored in emergency response planning. We are calling on all agencies to increase awareness and to adapt strategies, to better recognise the needs of this often hidden group.”

Amy Little, co-author and Executive Lead of GADAA who also leads Alzheimer’s Society’s international work, added: “During humanitarian emergencies, agencies need to work quickly to identify people living with dementia and then to address their support needs. Ahead of a crisis, governments, agencies and civil society need to work together to plan for people living with dementia. The burden of proof should not be about identifying cases of dementia to demonstrate a need for action, but to assume that this population exists – which it does, in millions.”