Too little has changed since May 2017. Governments need to do more. This report comes one year after the unanimous approval of the Global plan on dementia by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is the first of a series that will gather the voices of civil society with the aim to ensure that the targets of the plan become reality and that it will make a tangible difference for people with dementia and their families all over the world. It is far from extensive, but will set out the current landscape in each of the strategic areas of the plan, including policy, awareness, research and data.
In 2017, WHO initiated the Global Dementia Observatory (GDO), a hugely important project that aims to gather governments’ data on the progress of Member States against each target. In future, this report will play a key role in looking objectively at the GDO data, and comparing it with the real-life experiences of Alzheimer associations and other civil society organisations on the ground. Already, it is a wake-up call to over 120 governments that do not have a plan or are not yet contributing to the GDO, to add their efforts and expertise to the global fight against dementia.
Some governments are getting it right and we want to showcase their efforts. Much of this momentum has come from the Americas, where the impact of dementia is huge and effort to address it is great. Almost a third of the countries listed as having a dementia plan have listened to a key argument of ADI, which is to review progress, refine and adopt subsequent plans - examples include plans in Japan and Scotland.
Those who doubt plans can work can be inspired by these positive examples. Many governments are already doing a lot but often under the direction of different departments, authorities or ministries. At times, all that is needed is better information and coordination of existing activities. The result can be a pooling of resources and more provision of services for families that need them so badly.