Alzheimer's Disease International

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Meeting: 
144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.5.3 Preparation for the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on universal health coverage
Statement: 

ADI is the global umbrella organisation of Alzheimer associations, representing 94 organisations. We make this statement supported by our partner Dementia Alliance International, representing people living with dementia.

50 million people are currently living with dementia, which is forecast to increase to 152 million by 2050, with the majority of this increase in low- and middle-income countries. Global costs estimates are currently US$1 trillion; a figure set to double by 2030.

Costs associated with dementia can be substantial, often impacted by the lengthy duration of illness and co-morbidities and can result in inequitable out-of-pocket expenditure. To minimise costs to individuals, dementia care must be innovative and made available over the changing course of the illness. A sizeable proportion of the financial costs of dementia are attributable to informal care.

Accordingly, we readily support the focus of the next UN High-Level Meeting on UHC. In line with SDG target 3.8, we encourage governments to pursue sustainable financing for dementia services, spanning the continuum of care; from risk reduction, to early diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.

In the continued absence of a disease-modifying treatment, and in order to realise the goals of UHC, a balance between primary and secondary and tertiary care is essential. An OECD report published in 2017 highlighted that physicians receive only 12 hours of dementia-specific education during their training. We invite governments to invest more in the education of primary healthcare practitioners.

We welcome the continuation of the Civil Society Working Group on NCDs; particularly the role in the build-up to the High-Level Meeting on UHC. We will continue to advocate, at the highest level of government, to integrate dementia into the UHC agenda. However, in order for our work to be effective and credible, an explicit recognition that dementia is within the UHC debate is needed.