March has seen promising developments towards achieving universal coverage with National Dementia Plans (NDPs) worldwide. Uruguay and Armenia announced the launch of their NDPs on March 9th and 20th respectively, while Bosnia and Herzegovina has been actively developing their NDP in partnership with relevant government departments.
The progress in Uruguay and Armenia follows over a year of advocacy efforts led by ADI and its members, Asociación Uruguaya de Alzheimer y Similares and Alzheimer’s Care Armenia, as part of the #WhatsYourPlan campaign.
The #WhatsYourPlan campaign was launched in response to the lack of NDP implementation by WHO Member States, 20 of which committed to developing an NDP by 2025, as per the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan on dementia. The campaign aims to encourage governments around the world to prioritise the development of comprehensive NDPs to support those living with dementia and their carers, and to address the growing challenge that dementia presents to wider society.
Uruguay launched its NDP on March 9, which detailed several strategies and actions to enhance dementia diagnosis, care, and support within the country. In October 2022, ADI CEO Paola Barbarino met with Dr Daniel Salinas, the Minister of Health, to discuss the significance of implementing a plan, after which Dr Salinas and members of the Ministry of Health committed to developing a NDP by February 2023. During the launch of Uruguay’s NDP on 9 March, the Ministry of Health outlined a range of strategies and actions to improve dementia diagnosis, care and support in the country. In October 2021, ADI CEO Paola Barbarino met with Dr Daniel Salinas, the Minister of Health, in Uruguay to discuss the importance of implementing a plan. Following their discussions, Dr Salinas and members of the Ministry of Health committed to developing an NDP by February 2023.
Over a week later, on 20 March, the Armenian Ministry of Health announced the launch of their plan during a press conference.
During the press conference, Gérard Pashayan, Chief Counselor to the Department of Psychiatry, spoke about prevalence rates in the country, as well as a general lack of awareness in the country around the disease. He noted that through an NDP, measures could be taken by the government to slow increasing prevalence rates, as well as improve the quality of life and well-being for those already affected by dementia.
Founder of Alzheimer’s Care Armenia, Jane Mahakian, said: “This is a pivotal moment for Armenia. In collaboration with Alzheimer’s Care Armenia and the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Health, the country now has a National Dementia Plan.”
The National Dementia Plan is the single most powerful tool to improve dementia care and support, making it a necessary next step to support people with dementia and their carers throughout the country.
In addition to the Uruguayan and Armenian NDP launch announcements, on 3 March, ADI member Alzheimer Udruženje AiR met with the Ministry of Health to discuss next steps towards the development of a NDP in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the meeting, Alzheimer Udruženje AiR and the acting Minister of Health, Dr Marina Bera, discussed the need for an NDP, including key challenges and how the plan would improve the advancement of rights for people living with dementia and carers across the country, as well as the importance of multisectoral collaboration.
Dr Bera will meet with Vesko Drljača, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, later in March to discuss the future direction of the plan, including collaboration across government departments and further details around the plan’s development progress. They will also arrange a group meeting with both Ministries regarding the appointment of a Working Group for developing the plan and determining its goals.
ADI believes that the development and implementation of robust National Dementia Plans is essential to ensure that people with dementia receive the care and support they need, and that societies are better equipped to mitigate and manage the growing challenge of dementia.
As such, ADI and its member associations will continue to encourage governments to develop and implement NDPs, and to keep the momentum of the #WhatsYourPlan campaign going throughout the year.
With less than two years remaining of the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on the public health response to dementia, it is crucial that governments around the world prioritise dementia care and support. By continuing to ask governments ‘What’s your plan?’, we can ensure that everyone affected by dementia receives the care and support they deserve.