ADI Intervention at the World Health Assembly 2016

26 May 2016 - Chair of ADI Glenn Rees made the following intervention today during the World Health Assembly agenda item on the draft global strategy and plan of action on ageing and health. Executive Director Marc Wortmann is attending the 69th World Health Assembly with Glenn Rees, where 194 country representatives are meeting to discuss issues including non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and ageing:

REF Agenda Item: 13, document A69/17: Multisectoral action for a life course approach to healthy ageing: draft global strategy and plan of action on ageing and health

My name is Glenn Rees. I am chairman of the board of Alzheimer’s Disease International, the global umbrella for 85 national Alzheimer’s Associations around the world.

We support this report and draft global strategy and plan of action.  Ageing is one of the major non-modifiable risk factors for dementia and we believe that many of the issues addressed in the action plan by extension will lead to public health actions that will be supportive of persons living with dementia, their families and professional carers.

Let me emphasise four points.

Firstly, apart from promoting healthy ageing it is crucial to recognize the fact that many older people have multiple chronic conditions that are not managed well. An ageing policy could be the perfect place to improve care coordination.

Secondly, we call on the WHO and all UN agencies to collect data on persons of all ages and end discrimination in policy because we lack information about those over the age of 60 or even in some cases age 49. 

Thirdly, lack of information on care outcomes holds back the capacity of service providers to improve the quality of care, policy makers to assess how best to prioritise scarce dollars and older people to decide on care and support options.

Fourthly, ADI welcomes the focus on the distinction between intrinsic capacity and loss of capacity. It is because dementia is both a social and a medical condition that we attach such importance to the fostering of dementia friendly communities and an age friendly approach. ADI is committed to a human rights approach and recognizing the rights of older people and people with dementia to be treated as full citizens.

Last, let me point out that for the first time our delegation includes one of our leaders from Nigeria - demonstrating indeed that ageing issues like dementia are the global norm, not the exception.

On behalf of ADI, I thank the chair for the opportunity to make this intervention.