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Social Justice

Dementia

  • 04 Sep 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the WHO (World Health Organisation) released a report ‘Global status report on the public health response to dementia’.

  • It takes stock of progress made to date towards the 2025 global targets for dementia laid out in the WHO’s ‘Global Dementia Action Plan’ published in 2017.

Key Points

  • About:
    • It is a syndrome – usually of a chronic or progressive nature – that leads to deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological ageing.
    • It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgement.
      • However, the consciousness is not affected.
    • 65% of total deaths due to dementia are women, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) due to dementia are roughly 60% higher in women than in men.
  • Symptoms:
    • Memory loss, Difficulties with thinking, Visual perception, Self-management, Problem solving or language and the ability to focus and pay attention.
    • Personality changes, like depression, agitation, paranoia, and mood swings.
  • Causes:
    • When brain cells are damaged then dementia may occur. It can be caused by a head injury, a stroke, a brain tumour or due to HIV infection.
  • Treatment:
    • There is currently no treatment available to cure dementia, though numerous new treatments are being investigated in various stages of clinical trials.
  • Global Scenario:
    • Dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide.
    • More than 55 million people (8.1% of women and 5.4% of men over 65 years) are living with dementia.
    • This number is estimated to rise to 78 million by 2030 and to 139 million by 2050.
    • WHO’s Western Pacific Region has the highest number of people with dementia (20.1 million), followed by the European Region (14.1 million).
  • WHO’s Efforts:
    • Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025:
      • It provides a comprehensive blueprint for addressing dementia.
    • Global Dementia Observatory:
      • It is an international surveillance platform to facilitate monitoring and sharing of information on dementia policies, service delivery, epidemiology and research.
    • Guidelines on Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia:
      • It provides evidence- based recommendations on interventions for reducing modifiable risk factors for dementia.
    • Mental Health Gap Action Programme:
      • It is a resource for generalists, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, to help them provide first-line care for mental, neurological and substance use disorders.
  • Indian Initiatives:
    • Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India:
      • It calls for the government to have its plan or policy on dementia which must be implemented in all states and funded and monitored by the health ministry.
    • National Health Mission:
      • It envisages achievement of universal access to equitable, affordable & quality health care services that are accountable and responsive to people's needs.

Source: IE

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