Mental health

Towards a dementia plan: a WHO guide

1 June 2018 – Only a few countries currently have formulated national dementia plans, despite approximately fifty million people worldwide living with dementia.

Member States are urged to build comprehensive, multisectoral public policy responses to improve quality of life, enhance equitable access to services and reduce stigma and social isolation for people with dementia and their carers.

A new WHO publication assists Member States in formulating this response, through a multiphased approach.

WHO launches Global Dementia Observatory

An old and a young woman, laughing together
Cathy Greenblat

7 December 2017 - The Global Dementia Observatory, a web-based platform launched today, 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 policy and plans, risk reduction measures and infrastructure for providing care and treatment. Information on surveillance systems and disease burden data is also included.

World Health Assembly endorses global action plan on dementia

WHO/G. McKell

29 May 2017 - Delegates at the World Health Assembly today endorsed a global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 and committed to developing ambitious national strategies and implementation plans. The global plan aims to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and the people who care for them, while decreasing the impact of dementia on communities and countries. It provides a comprehensive blueprint for action, in areas such as: increasing awareness of dementia and establishing dementia-friendly initiatives; reducing the risk of dementia; diagnosis, treatment and care; research and innovation; and support for dementia carers.

Development of the Global Dementia Observatory

January 2017 - The Global Dementia Observatory (GDO) is being developed by WHO to facilitate countries in strengthening their systems to support people with dementia and their families.

The GDO aims to facilitate the sharing of best practices, evidence-based service planning and strengthening of policies by providing easy access to a range of key dementia statistics and WHO’s analyses to monitor global, regional and national progress and trends in the area of dementia.

Highlights

fact buffet

Dementia

50 millionApproximately 50 million people worldwide have dementia.

Fact sheet: dementia

Dementia cost

$818 billionThe majority of care is provided by family carers.

Fact sheet: dementia

Mortality

7th Dementia is now the 7th leading cause of death.

Fact sheet: The top 10 causes of death

Dementia is an umbrella term for several diseases affecting memory, other cognitive abilities and behaviour that interfere significantly with a person’s ability to maintain their activities of daily living. Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not a normal part of ageing.

WHO is working very closely with Member States and other relevant stakeholders to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers, while decreasing the impact of dementia on communities and countries.

Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020

The action plan recognizes the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all people. It aims to achieve equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention.

Dementia Action Plan 2017-2025

The global plan aims to improve the lives of people with dementia, their families and the people who care for them, while decreasing the impact of dementia on communities and countries.

WHO guidelines on risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia