High-level policymakers discuss dementia

19 June 2014 - ADI participated in the Global Dementia Legacy Event in London, attended by health and finance leaders from around the world, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Also today, Jason Hatke, a teenage carer from the US, gave a statement to a UN hearing in New York on NCDs.

Global Dementia Legacy Event

The Prime Minister said that immediate action was needed to address a market failure on dementia research and drug development, which had seen global spending on dementia at five times below research on cancer, with only three drugs making it onto the market in the last 15 years. The event is a follow-up to last December’s G8 Summit on Dementia. Mr Cameron also encouraged other nations to follow the UK’s commitment. The new World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gillings, committed to looking at ways of bringing forward a global fund that could draw billions in private and public investment specifically focussed on dementia.

Marc Wortmann, ADI's Executive Director, said, "Many government efforts are the result of the strong voice that was raised for people with dementia and their families by national Alzheimer associations and Societies. Public funding for dementia research also comes from Alzheimer associations and strengthening these associations in both higher and lower and middle-income countries is crucial for a successful approach to the dementia challenge in the years ahead."

Marc was part of a panel discussion at the event, alongside Dame Gill Morgan DBE, Alzheimer’s Society (UK), Dr Maria Carrillo, Alzheimer’s Association (US) and DY Suharya, Alzheimer's Indonesia.

UN hearing on NCDs

Jason Hatke, from Indianapolis, USA, today gave a statement to an informal hearing at the UN to provide input to the high-level meeting to review of progress in prevention and control of non-commucicable diseases (NCDs).

Jason, now 18, started volunteering with the Alzheimer's Association (US) at the age of 13, the same year his father Michael was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He has been very active as a lobbyist for the Association, and he has attended the National Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. for the past 4 years. Last summer, Jason and his father traveled to London to work with ADI to build a young caregiver support website.

Jason talked about his family's experience of Michael's diagnosis, his efforts to educate his peers about dementia, and noted that dementia was often left out of plans about NCDs. Jason said:

"The good news is that we know what to do for NCDs. Now, we need countries to step up and start taking action. Every person in the world should have access to prevention, treatment and care for all NCDs, including mental and neurological disorders, no matter what their age, gender, or where they live. Unhealthy products like tobacco and processed foods should not be easily available or cheap. I think an effective response to Alzheimer’s and other NCDs is collaborative, one that brings people together. We need to focus our attention on how to bring people together on NCD’s."