[Editorial Analysis] A Matter of Dignity

Mains Paper: 2 | Health

Prelims level: WHO

Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Introduction

• The rapid increase in ageing population across countries requires national strategies .

• Data from many parts of the world reveals age as a risk factor for dementia .

• Dementia affects memory and significantly interferes with a person’s ability to perform daily activities.

• According to the WHO, it affects 50 million people worldwide; a number that is projected to increase to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050.

• According to some estimates, one person gets affected by dementia every three seconds.

• Studies have revealed how the stigma attached to the disease leads to the social isolation of patients, their families and careers.

• Research has thrown light on the deterioration in the quality of their lives.

• There is an urgent need to treat dementia as a public health concern by raising awareness on all aspects of the disease including risk reduction, diagnosis, treatment, research, care and support for patients and care givers.

• Several of the needs of such affected people — social, economic or those related to health remain unfulfilled.

• For instance, leave concessions at work, adaptable housing environments, adequate diagnostic facilities, treatment options, care provisions and risk reduction measures.

Way forward

• Many require psychological support, biomedical facilities, appropriate medications, counselling services and end of life care.

• Over a year ago, the World Health Assembly in Geneva adopted the Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017- 2025.

• India endorsed the plan, confirming its commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families.

• Such a plan should incorporate public awareness campaigns and research.

• As the percentage of aged people in the country increases must become a national priority.

• These programmes could be aligned with existing policies and care models.

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