Alzheimer’s Disease International

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- WHO’s work in health emergencies

ADI is the global umbrella organisation of 94 Alzheimer associations.

Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia, with nearly 60 per cent living in low- and middle-income countries. The total number of people with dementia will reach 152 million in 2050. Simultaneously, one in 70 people around the world is impacted by crisis and urgently need humanitarian support. While we are encouraged by the increasing recognition of the needs of older persons - the population group most likely to experience dementia - people living with dementia are routinely excluded from humanitarian assistance.

ADI worked in partnership with the Global Alzheimer’s & Dementia Action Alliance and Alzheimer’s Pakistan to provide the first analysis of dementia in humanitarian settings. The report draws attention to the initial impact of an emergency on the lives of people living with dementia and the role actors play in the humanitarian settings.

The WHO’s Global plan on dementia contains a commitment to planning for humanitarian emergencies which considers individual support for people with dementia and community psychosocial support. The 194 Member States that signed up to the Global plan must work with the humanitarian system to ensure they fulfil these commitments.

ADI asks governments and humanitarian agencies to make better use of existing tools such as the WHO’s mhGAP Intervention Guide and Training Manual and the Washington Group Extended Set of Questions, to better support the needs of people living with dementia in all humanitarian settings.

A great proportion of humanitarian emergencies happen in countries which are already ill-prepared to support people living with dementia; in terms of diagnosis, treatment, care and support. Thus, it is a matter of global equity that people living with dementia are not overlooked in humanitarian response. We call for a unified approach to supporting the specific needs of people with dementia in humanitarian crises.