Frequently Asked Questions on the Global Action Plan

This page answers some of the common questions around the World Health Organization (WHO)'s 'The global action plan on public health response to dementia 2017-2025.'

The Global Action Plan (GAP) has the power to transform the future of awareness, prevention and diagnosis, care and treatment of, and research for, dementia.

However, more governments need to develop National Dementia Plans or strategies that are fully funded, adopted and monitored. On this page, you can find frequently asked questions around the GAP and National Dementia Plans.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a collective name for brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. The most well-known form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 50-60% of all cases.  
Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and fronto-temporal dementia. 

Symptoms may include loss of memory, difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying, difficulty in performing previously routine tasks, personality changes and more. 

Read further about the different types of dementia

What is a National Dementia Plan (NDP)?

A National Dementia Plan (NDP) is a formal plan that a government adopts to try and improve progress in key areas around dementia, including diagnosis, research, reducing the risk of developing dementia, care, treatment and support, with the key aim of improving the lives of people living with dementia.

NDPs are tailored to each country’s culture and socio-demographic and are developed with the help of those who are key leaders in dementia, including those with lived experience of the condition, Alzheimer and dementia associations, carers and other experts. 

Through this designed framework, which is made up of seven action areas, they can collectively address a range of issues, including: improvement of health, social and post-diagnostic care; promotion of public awareness of dementia, public health efforts for promoting brain health and risk reduction strategies, and more. 

In countries without plan, the national Alzheimer or dementia association should advocate for a plan and work with governments to formulate and implement one.

Annually, ADI publishes a comprehensive policy report, titled From Plan to Impact, which presents an overview of the national efforts to address dementia worldwide. The report offers a detailed examination of the global progress made towards achieving the goals of the Global Action Plan on the public health response to Dementia 2017-2025. 

Read the latest From Plan to Impact

Why is it so important?

A fundamental principle underpinning the Global Action Plan is that people living with dementia should be able to live to the best of their ability and with dignity. 

By agreeing to implement a NDP, countries have committed to improving the lives of people living with dementia, their families and the wider communities in their country.  

However, only 39 WHO Member States currently have a NDP or some type of dementia strategy, which means there is not much time left to meet the 2025 target.

#WhatsYourPlan campaign

Launched at the end of 2021, the campaign aims to encourage governments and Member States around the world to develop, fund and implement NDPs in their countries.

I am not impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Why should I care if my country has a NDP? 

It is estimated that globally, by 2030, 78* million people will be living with dementia; by 2050, this figure is estimated to be 139 million people.
These figures could increase, especially as we begin to fully understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 and its effect on long-term cognitive health. 

In other words, as time goes on, it is likely that you will be impacted by the disease in some way; whether it is through family members, friends or members of your community developing dementia.  

If your country has a National Dementia Plan in place, individuals affected by the disease, such as yourself or someone you know, will have access to improved support, education about the disease, earlier diagnosis, and advanced treatment options. 

It is also estimated that up to 40% of cases of dementia can be delayed or reduced by address 12 modifiable risk factors. A National Dementia Plan ensures governments implement policies to try and address these risk factors, reducing the chances of some people developing the condition or delaying its onset.   

My country is not a WHO Member State. Can it still implement a NDP?

All countries and territories should have a NDP in place as the Global Action Plan is the most holistic guide to developing effective dementia policies.

What can my government do to best support people in absence of a NDP? 

In absence of a NDP, ADI highly encourages governments to develop policies on dementia which centre around the some of the seven action areas of the Global Action Plan, such as awareness raising, as well as the encouragement of improved diagnosis, treatment and research. 

Additionally, governments should develop policies which assist in the practical development of healthcare infrastructure for dementia services. 

It is important that any policies developed are based on evidence and involve multiple stakeholders. Like the Global Action Plan, these policies should also have defined targets and roles for implementation, and there should be a system for monitoring and evaluating progress.  

Most importantly, governments must work with and listen to those who are affected by dementia when they are making plans about how to help people with the condition, to best respond to the needs and issues faced by those in the community.