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World Alzheimers Day: A Day of Shame For NZ

PRESS RELEASE

World Alzheimers Day: A Day of Shame For New Zealand

As most of the World celebrates World Alzheimers Day today, New Zealand can hang its head in shame and consider why it is not funding medications that reverse or delay the progression of dementia.

“While there is no cure for dementia, there are medications available that can help. At least 30 countries around the world will today celebrate the fact that their government’s at least partly fund those treatments,” said Alzheimers New Zealand National President Wendy Fleming.

“Unfortunately, New Zealand is not one of those countries.”

“So instead of being a day of some celebration, World Alzheimers Day in this country is a time when we can reflect on the fact that a lack of government funding for dementia treatment means greater health inequalities are being created between the wealthy and the poor because access to treatment depends on one’s ability to pay,” Mrs Fleming said.

Mrs Fleming noted that the treatments are expensive, at $200-$250 per month.

“But the improvement in quality of life they bring about for people is enormous, and their cost would recovered many times over if the government introduced funding for them,” Mrs Fleming said.

Mrs Fleming said dementia is a significant problem in New Zealand and it is not acceptable to simply put up with its symptoms and its affect on society.

“Memory problems are not a normal part of getting old,” she said. “Memory problems, especially short-term memory loss, are the most common early symptoms of dementia and people should seek the advice of a doctor if they experience this problem.”

“The problem can be treatable for many people – and it should be treated.”

“On World Alzheimers Day I ask that this government rectifies an enormous health inequality between the wealthy and the poor – and subsidises these drugs which can really make a difference to the lives of many New Zealanders.

“We have to ask ourselves – if this treatment is good enough for the rest of the world, why isn’t the government funding it in New Zealand?”

ENDS

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