UN Summit recognises dementia importance

20 September 2011 - This week the United Nations holds only its second meeting in its history on a global health issues by convening a Summit on Non Communicable Diseases (NCD). The final political declaration of the summit specifically recognises neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as an important cause of morbidity that contribute to the global NCD burden and that NCD prevention programmes and health care interventions provide equitable access to effective programmes for these illnesses.

We are excited by this recognition of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as a burden on par with diabetes, cancer, lung diseases and cardiovascular disease. It is a major step forward in public health action on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, which may be accomplished through improved access to diagnosis and care, chronic disease management programmes and risk reduction programs. With 36 million people living with dementia worldwide today and the growing problem especially in lower and middle income countries, adding Alzheimer’s considerations to the health planning effort at the country and World Health Organization level is a major leap forward toward mobilising the imagination and resources of the public health community.

Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) has become a Full Partner in the NCD Alliance with the other four disease areas. We have to work out our role in the Alliance and this process starts now, as well as the implementation of the topics and commitments agreed during the Summit.

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of ADI says: “I am very proud that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are part of the Political Declaration that was agreed on during the Summit. This is a result of extraordinary public policy efforts of the entire Alzheimer’s movement and dementia advocates in many countries as well as our umbrella bodies Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimer’s Disease International. We also mobilised great support with ten international partners, all organisations dedicated to ageing issues, who successfully campaigned to get ageing, dementia and care issues recognised during the Summit.”

View the UN Declaration for the NCD Summit.

ADI continues to actively persuade WHO, following the lead of the United Nations Political Declaration on Non Communicable Disease, that Alzheimer’s issues need to be accounted for in its action plan. Read a memo sent in November 2012 by ADI to public health authorities highlighting the ongoing issues and concerns at the lack of recognition of dementia in the Global Monitoring Framework.