The number of patients with dementia is increasing, while government efforts do not follow. This is reflected in the latest Global Status Report on Public Health Response to Dementia from the World Health Organization (WHO). An alarming conclusion where the WHO urges countries to renew and strengthen their policies to combat this global health problem.
Dementia, a disease that spares no one
Based on data provided by 62 countries, theWHO makes a sad observation: only a quarter of the countries have a policy or a strategy to provide support to patients suffering from dementia, as well as to their loved ones. Of these nations, half are on the European continent. Indeed, the policies of medicine and assistance to people suffering from dementia are coming to an end for most European countries.
For the WHO, it is therefore urgent to overhaul the national plans in these countries. Indeed, the number of patients affected by this disease is constantly increasing. According to this report, dementia affects more than 55 millions of people of which 8.1% are women and 5.4% are men over 65 years of age. In 2030, this number would rise to 78 million and then to 139 millions in 2050.
This disease creates a handicap impacting both the patient and the families. Dementia results from diseases and traumas affecting the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, this insanity upsets the region of memory as well as other cognitive functions. The majority of patients can hardly carry out daily tasks.
Despite the care provided by the hospital system, relatives are invaluable support in accompanying the sick. In high-income countries, advocacy care accounts for about more than a third of the overall costs of this disease, while more than half of care come from relatives.
The need to help families
The latter, which we call caregivers, are even more needed in low- and middle-income nations. Care provided by relatives and families amounts to 65%. Hospitals are less equipped to take more care of the sick. In 2019, caregivers spent on average 5 hours a day help their loved one with dementia.
For the WHO, it is these countries in particular that must be supported in order to deploy financial, social and psychological aid. Among the 75% of the countries of the planet declaring that they invest in a real policy of assistance to caregivers, the majority are high income countries.
It is in this sense that the WHO has announced the development of a ” blueprint for dementia research, a global coordinating mechanism that will structure research and encourage new initiatives As Tarun Dua, doctor and head of the WHO’s Brain Health Unit, explains.
For its part, France has just made it known that it wished to hire 350 000 people to help dependent elderly people by 2025. In France, more than 1,200,000 patients are affected by dementia, according to Public Health France.
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