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Alzheimers NZ welcomes G8 leaders’ commitment

MEDIA RELEASE
12 December 2013

Alzheimers NZ welcomes G8 leaders’ commitment to global action on dementia

Alzheimers New Zealand has welcomed a series of commitments agreed at yesterday’s first ever G8 Dementia Summit in London, UK.

Yesterday’s Summit saw expert researchers, pharmaceutical companies, representatives from the OECD, Alzheimers organisations and health and science Ministers meeting to discuss global action on dementia, which is predicted to affect 135 million people globally by 2050.

The group made a series of 11 commitments to address the growing challenge of dementia, including, finding a cure  or a disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025 (supported by increased funding for research); innovation to improve the quality of life for people affected by dementia; and calling upon society to continue to reduce the stigma, fear and exclusion experienced by people with dementia.  (A communiqué listing the full series of commitments is available here).

Alzheimers NZ, Chair, Susan Hitchiner, said that with the number of people affected by dementia continuing to grow both in New Zealand and internationally, Alzheimers NZ is pleased to see international collaboration on dementia beginning, and is calling for cross-sector and cross-agency collaboration here in New Zealand.

“With global collaboration on dementia now beginning, it is incumbent upon all nations to start their own discussion on dementia challenge, and we are calling for that discussion to start urgently here in New Zealand,” Ms Hitchiner said.

“Government, community-based / not-for-profit and private sector organisations and service providers across the wider dementia community all need to work together.  We need to focus on planning for service provision, structural and funding changes that needed for us to be able respond to our aging population, which will be significantly affected by dementia, on a national basis.”

Ms Hitchiner said as well as committing to research, innovation and improving the quality of life for people with the condition, Alzheimers NZ welcomed the G8 leaders’ commitment to reducing the stigma associated with dementia and its call for people with dementia to be treated with dignity and respect.  She also welcomed the explicit focus on finding a cure for dementia or a therapy that will modify the disease, with 2025 as the ambitious timeframe.

“Reducing the stigma that currently surrounds a dementia diagnosis, creating communities in which people with dementia are understood, supported and respected, and keeping the ultimate goal of finding a cure in focus, are major goals of Alzheimers NZ, and we are excited to see them being prioritised globally.”

To continue the momentum begun at yesterday’s G8 Dementia Summit, participants have committed to a series of high-level fora throughout 2014, in partnership with the OECD, WHO, the European Commission, the EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND), and civil society, to develop cross sector partnerships and innovation, focused on:

•          Social impact investment – UK-led
•          New care and prevention models – Japan-led
•          Academia-industry partnerships – Canada and France - co-led

The next G8 Dementia Summit will be held in the United States in February 2015.

For further information on the commitments made at yesterday’s G8 Dementia Summit visit www.alzheimers.org.nz.

ENDS

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