National Dementia Strategies

On May 29 this year, the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025 was unanimously adopted. The following is the announcement made in Geneva

Delegates at the World Health Assembly have reached new agreements on dementia; immunization; refugee and migrant health; substandard and falsified medical products, and the world drug problem.


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.

Areas for action include: reducing the risk of dementia; diagnosis, treatment and care; research and innovative technologies; and development of supportive environments for carers.

They called on the WHO Secretariat to offer technical support, tools and guidance to Member States as they develop national and subnational plans and to draw up a global research agenda for dementia. Delegates recognized the importance of WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory as a system for monitoring progress both within countries and at the global level.

Delegates emphasized the need to integrate health and social care approaches, and to align actions to tackle dementia with those for other aspects of mental health, as well as noncommunicable diseases and ageing. They also highlighted the importance of ensuring respect for the human rights of people living with dementia, both when developing plans and when implementing them.

One of the recommendations was that all countries develop and fund National and sub national Dementia Plans and Strategies, and it was great to wake up today to receive an email announcing Scotland has just launched its THIRD National Dementia Strategy 2017-2020 which has been published here 

This strategy is the product of collaboration between colleagues from across health, social care and the third sector and includes direct input at every stage from people with dementia, their families and carers. To facilitate this input, the Scottish Government and Alzheimer Scotland hosted a series of National Dementia Dialogue events in 2016 and 2017, which gave people the opportunity to share their views on our proposals. Following these events, the Scottish Government published its proposal for our next three-year strategy. A National Expert Advisory Group also advised us on the nature and development of the strategy and its associated commitments.

Although the words or terms cognitive disabilities, human rights and CRPD do not appear once throughout the document, the strategies appear to be based on many of the principles, and the word rehabilitation is mentioned on page 22.

In the Foreword written by Alzheimer’s Scotland, it says:

We welcome the new commitment within this strategy to go beyond the initial guaranteed minimum of one year’s post diagnostic support and to offer those individuals diagnosed early with a named Link Worker who will continue to use the 5 Pillar approach and who will now support each person for the duration of their time living with dementia, until such times as their needs change and they require greater care co-ordination. We also welcome the commitment to ensure that those individuals who are diagnosed later and whose needs are more appropriately delivered using the 8 Pillar model receive their post diagnostic support from a named Dementia Practice Coordinator from that point through to the advanced stages of the illness.

We believe that these changes will further enhance the quality and person centred nature of the support we provide to each person living with dementia and their family and will continue to build on Scotland’s reputation for world leading progressive dementia policy. Alongside this the commitment to test the Advanced Dementia Practice Model and the focus on end of life care takes us closer to achieving our shared vision of the best possible support for people living with dementia from the point of diagnosis to the end of life.

You can read what the difference is between frameworks, strategies and plans, and which countries have them on the Alzheimer’s Disease International website here… They also  produced a National Plans Bibliography (PDF) in 2016, including references to papers discussing developing, implementing and review of national plans.

My hope for people with dementia and our care partners and families is these national and sub national strategies, frameworks or plans all have funding to implement them;  they are not much use to us if they are sitting in a file in someone’s office. I also hope they all include human rights principles, CRPD and post diagnostic pathways that include rehabilitation and disability assessment and support at the time of diagnosis. But for now, let us celebrate any progress heading in in this direction.

Come on Aussie, come on, come on. Come on Aussie, come on… We need to catch up!

You are very welcome to respectfully join this global conversation.

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