The World Health Organization (WHO) says there will be 78 million people with dementia by 2030. More than 55 million people globally are living through the stigma of the neurological disorder that deprives them of their memory. Dementia also comes with grave economic cost to the individual and society; it currently costs the world $1.3 trillion per year.
While it can be a fallout of stroke, the progressive condition can befall anyone with Alzheimer’s disease or brain injury. Since global populations are ageing, the WHO report predicts the number of sufferers will rise to 78 million by 2030, 139 million by 2050.
The situation is understandably dire, considering only one out of every four countries maintains a national policy to support dementia sufferers and their families. The WHO urges governments to ramp up efforts to deal with this significant health challenge.
Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus said, “Dementia robs millions of people of their memories, independence and dignity, but it also robs the rest of us of the people we know and love.”
He continued by saying the world has failed people with dementia, “and that hurts us all.”
The World Health Organization report pointed out a 2015 agreement by health ministers on a global action plan for early diagnosis and care. However, countries are not close to meeting targets by 2025. In fact, better economics has not helped countries back dementia into a wall. Close to 40 percent of those with dementia live in low- and middle-income countries, according to Katrin Seeher, a WHO mental health expert.
Wealthier countries are better equipped to supply household adjustments, hygiene products, and medication to dementia patients. These countries have a superior level of reimbursement than lower-income countries, per the report.
Dementia impacts ability to perform simple tasks, learning capacity, memory, and orientation, learning capacity. The WHO report implicitly highlights the influence of the economy on the quality of life of sufferers. With the gap seemingly widening between richer and poorer countries, one wonders if it won’t be responsible for the bulk of the 78 million dementia sufferers in 2030.
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