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Governments still too slow at tackling the dementia epidemic

Global report shows governments still too slow at tackling the dementia epidemic

Greater progress is needed by countries to implement national plans to respond to dementia, a new report by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has revealed. Around the world, dementia is the 7th leading cause of death. Every 3 seconds someone develops dementia.

The report comes after another disappointing Budget announcement, which failed to include any funding for enhanced specialist dementia services for the 62,000 Kiwis who have dementia, a number expected to almost triple by 2050.

The ADI report, Plan to impact: Progress towards the targets of the global action plan on dementia, marks the one-year anniversary of WHO’s adoption of Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025.

ADI is calling on world governments to commit to developing national plans and to devote funding to plans to tackle dementia, with it set to become a trillion-dollar disease this year.

The report states governments have been too slow to tackle dementia, and is calling on them to develop national plans and to devote funding immediately.

Alzheimers NZ agrees and urges the NZ government to invest in implementing the New Zealand Framework for Dementia Care, which provides a blueprint for more and better services for people living with dementia. We are very disappointed with the lack of progress in implementing the Framework in the past 5 years.

Today New Zealand’s health and other services are struggling to provide adequate support and services to people living with dementia, and the rapidly increasing numbers of people living with dementia could completely overload the health system in the near future.

Like many people around the world, Kiwis who are living with dementia rely on a variety of community and home-based services provided by Alzheimers organisations around the country, but the government only funds, on average, about 30 percent of the costs of providing those services.

As such, implementing and investing in the Framework must be an urgent priority.

Alzheimers New Zealand Chief Executive Catherine Hall said; “Dementia is already one of this country’s greatest healthcare challenges and its impact is only going to get worse. It’s imperative the government acts quickly and decisively to invest in the specialist services needed urgently by people affected by dementia.”

“New Zealand simply cannot afford to do nothing about this issue and the sooner government commits to dealing with this issue the better it will be, both for the four out of five Kiwis affected by dementia and for Vote Health.”
ADI Report key points:
• Every 3 seconds someone develops dementia but most people with dementia do not receive a diagnosis or support
• Progress too slow from governments in generating national dementia plans: Global action plan sets goal for 146 states to develop a national response to dementia by 2025
• Scale of challenge is huge, over 15 new plans needed each year to hit 2025 target, only one plan since 2017
• ADI calls for greater funding to be devoted by governments towards plans
Key facts - The impact of dementia in New Zealand:
• More than 170,000 Kiwis will be living with dementia by 2050
• The total cost of dementia to NZ is now around $1.7b and will reach around $5b by 2050
• New models of care that keep people healthier at home for longer could achieve cost benefit ratios of 6.6 times the value of investment.

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