A national Plan and Policy for the 4.4 million persons with dementia in India

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Appeal Petition for Signature Campaign

 

Title:  A national Plan and Policy for the 4.4 million persons with dementia in India

 

 

Appeal

 

Dementia remains an under recognised problem in India. Alzheimer's and other dementias are affecting roughly 4.4 million persons in India.  The numbers are growing drastically.  Less than 10% get a timely and correct diagnosis. This condition has no cure, but progression can be delayed and quality of life can be improved if detected early and risk reduction strategies may help to delay the onset of the disease.

Every three seconds someone in the world is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia and globally this has affected over 50 million people.

The WHO declared dementia as a Global Health Priority in 2012 and brought out a Global action plan (2017-2025) on the Public Health response to Dementia covering seven areas from risk reduction to care, research and documenting incidence. The Action Plan also envisages all WHO member countries come up with their own Country strategy and Action Plan as a response to dealing with dementia.  Few countries already have such plans, schemes and budgetary allocations to tackle the health issues of dementia.

India being the third largest country just behind China and the United States, it is high time we too have a comprehensive National Policy/Strategy for Dementia with an Action Plan and clear allocation of resources.

Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) is a national organisation with 20 chapters across India. Since 1992, it has been actively engaged in empowering people affected by all forms of dementia and their family carers by raising awareness, providing home based counselling, enabling diagnosis through memory clinics and referring the persons identified with risks and symptoms to doctors, providing training to carers and finally engaging in research and advocacy measures.

This petition is an appeal to have a national plan at the earliest. The manifold needs and requirements of persons with dementia and their families can only be addressed when government adopts a comprehensive policy and puts a budget allocation in place. A draft strategy based on the Global plan was prepared and submitted to the Union Health Minister Sr. J P Nadda.  This petition and signature campaign will only strengthen the cause and convince the government to come up with a holistic package to deal with dementia at each district level. Thus we urge all stakeholders to sign up for this campaign.

The condition of persons affected with dementia and their carers are often pitiable. What starts off as mild cognition disorder worsens to total dependence for all activities of daily living requiring round the clock care. The affected persons is oblivious of the fact that he/she is affected with dementia and are difficult to manage beyond the moderate stage as they do not behave normally and are dependent on full time care by family members or paid carers. Wandering, repetitive behavioural disorders, incontinence, falls, mood swings, aggression. etc are common symptoms.

Each one of your singular support will greatly help to step up the momentum to make the government work in favour of people with dementia and their carers.