WHO Global action plan on dementia

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.

The Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 was adopted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States at the 70th World Health Assembly in May 2017.

The plan followed 10 years of advocacy for a global response to dementia by Alzheimer’s Disease International and others worldwide.
 
Since 2017, ADI has tracked international progress on the WHO Global Action Plan through a series of annual reports titled From Plan to Impact.  

Global Action Plan

The Global Action Plan (GAP) focuses on several different areas including: raising awareness about dementia, reducing the risk of developing dementia, making it easier to get a diagnosis, improving care and treatment for people with dementia, supporting carers and increasing research, through seven respective action areas. 

As a part of the plan, the WHO encourages all countries to work towards certain goals by 2025, including ensuring that 75% of countries provide training and support for families and carers of people living with dementia, as well public awareness campaigns to educate people about dementia. 

The GAP is important because it makes dementia a priority for all the countries that are WHO Member States, many of which do not have specific plans in place to address dementia. For countries and territories that are not Member States, the WHO still encourages the development of National Dementia Plans (NDP).

Frequently asked questions around GAP and NDPs

Through the GAP, each country is committed to report to the WHO on how close they are to achieving the targets of the seven action areas. This helps track progress and identify where more needs to be done. The Member States self-evaluation of their current progress is published online through the Global Dementia Observatory (GDO).

Adoption of the plan will have a positive impact on people living with dementia as well as their families, friends and communities, by making it possible for them to access better support, earlier diagnosis and improved treatment options. Furthermore, the plan emphasises that dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing and that those living with dementia deserve the necessary support to live their best lives. 

#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.

Towards a dementia plan: A WHO guide

In June 2018, WHO published a report that contains technical guidance and recommendations for Member States to develop national plans on dementia. The first target of the Global plan urges 146 countries (75% of Member States) to develop a plan by 2025. 

Read the guide

Global plan materials

WHO marked World Alzheimer’s Day 2017 with the publication of new materials on the GAP, with input from ADI. 

The materials include an infographic on the global impact of dementia, and information sheets on the importance of the 2017 global plan for civil society, policy makers, health and social care professionals and people living with dementia. ADI played an active role in the development of the materials which relate the global targets of the plan into an accessible format.

Additional materials

iSupport

WHO has developed a tool called iSupport for dementia, recognising that carers of people living with dementia need training and support. Support for carersis also a key target in the GAP. Starting as mainly an online training manual, the tool has expanded to include video and interactive content, with a number of institutions working across the globe to translate and adapt the toolkit for national contexts.  

Carers can tailor the programme to their personal needs and select as many lessons as they want. All lessons consist of several exercises and carers receive immediate feedback as they work through them. At the end of each lesson there is a relaxation exercise. 

Learn more about iSupport

The Global Dementia Observatory (GDO)

The GDO is a platform that has been created to help track and share information about dementia. This platform is for use by policymakers and researchers to gather data on policies, services, epidemiology and research related to dementia.

Learn more about the GDO

Risk reduction guidelines 

Created by WHO, these guidelines are are based on scientific evidence and suggest ways to lower the risk of developing dementia, such as being physically active and eating healthy, as well as controlling medical conditions that can increase the risk of dementia, like high blood pressure and diabetes. 

Read the guidelines

Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP)

The mhGAP is intended to help healthcare providers, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, give basic care for mental health, brain-related and substance use disorders. This programme is designed for generalists.

Learn more about mhGAP

Towards a dementia-friendly society: WHO toolkit for dementia-friendly initiatives

This toolkit is designed to help countries create, expand and measure programmes that make it easier for people living with dementia and their carers to be included in society. The goal of the toolkit is to help create communities where people living with dementia are able to participate in meaningful ways.

View the toolkit

Read more related content

Find more information about Global action plan here.

Frequently asked questions