From Plan to Impact V

WHO Global action plan: The time to act is now

This is the fifth From Plan to Impact report, monitoring the progress of the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025.

Alzheimer’s Disease International has produced its From Plan to Impact report annually since 2017 to monitor progress and provide critical updates on the status of the eight-year Global action plan on the public health response to dementia.

This report monitors the stages of creation and implementation of national dementia plans in both WHO member states and some non-member states, and provides expert analyses and case studies from around the world related to the seven action areas identified by the Global action plan. Like previous editions, the fifth From Plan to Impact continues to show that member states are lagging behind the goals set by the plan.

Some of the key points of the report include:
  • Only 39 WHO member states have developed national dementia plans, despite all 194 member states committing to developing such policies in 2017
  • Based on data collected from Alzheimer and dementia associations in May 2022, 35 new plans are needed annually to reach the WHO target of 146 plans (75% of member states) by 2025 – an unrealistically high number given the current pace of progress
  • The number of people living with dementia – estimated to stand at 55 million in 2019 – is expected to rise to 139 million in 2050, according to most recent WHO figures. The costs associated with dementia, meanwhile, are expected to rise from US$1.3 trillion per year in 2019 to $2.8 trillion dollars by 2030
  • The global contribution of informal carers for people living with dementia is worth 133 billion unpaid hours each year (about eight hours a day per carer). Nearly three-quarters of informal carers are women – often preventing them from entering the labour market to pursue paid work or receive education
  • Older people with dementia continue to be vulnerable to COVID-19 two years on, while many, including carers, have experienced increased isolation as a result of pandemic management policies

Meanwhile, evidence of cognitive impairment in some individuals who contracted COVID-19 also raises the possibility that the pandemic may have a long-term impact on the number of people developing dementia in the future – further emphasising the need for a public health response to address a condition that will affect more and more people across the globe, with unequal access to prevention, diagnosis, care and support.

With only three years left in the Global action plan on dementia, the targets set by the WHO are far from being reached. ADI calls on governments to reinvigorate their efforts, recognise the urgency in prioritising dementia and fulfil their commitments when the Global action plan was universally adopted.

The time for action is now. Any and all progress in the action areas identified by the WHO will make a difference in the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Ignoring the realities of dementia today will only make the situation worse tomorrow – but any steps taken now to address the many facets of the condition will bear fruit in the future.

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