Pulse

Monitoring dementia effects

| Updated on March 10, 2018

As the global population ages, the number of people living with dementia is expected to triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050. “Nearly 10 million people develop dementia each year, 6 million of them in low- and middle-income countries,” says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organisation Director-General.

“The suffering that results is enormous. This is an alarm call: we must pay greater attention to this growing challenge and ensure that all people living with dementia, wherever they live, get the care that they need.” The estimated annual global cost of dementia is $818 billion, equivalent to more than 1 percent of global GDP.

The total cost includes direct medical expenditure, and that on social and informal care (loss of income). By 2030, the spending is expected to more than double, to $2 trillion, a cost that could undermine social and economic development and overwhelm health and social services, including long-term care systems. The Global Dementia Observatory, a web-based platform launched by WHO, will track progress on the provision of services for people with dementia and for those who care for them, both within countries and globally.

It will monitor the presence of national policies and plans, risk-reduction measures and infrastructure for providing care and treatment. Information on surveillance systems and disease burden data are also included. “This is the first global monitoring system for dementia that includes such a comprehensive range of data,” said Tarun Dua of WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

To date, WHO has collected data from 21 countries of all income levels. By end 2018, it is expected that 50 countries will contribute data.

Published on December 12, 2017

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