Dementia On The WHO Agenda
The World Health Organization (WHO) holds two Executive Board meetings and one Assembly every year. Non-governmental organisations that are in official relations, like ADI, can attend these meetings and we are represented at the January Executive Board meeting by Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, and Mike Splaine, Policy Advisor. The meeting is a perfect opportunity to meet with WHO staff, country representatives (many who are not part of the Board of 35 still attend) and other organisations.
This time the agenda includes the WHO strategy and plan of action on ageing and health which is relevant for dementia, as was indicated by a number of speakers.
Outside the main meeting, we were able to talk to member states about the next WHO Board meeting in May, where dementia will be on the agenda. Switzerland has taken the lead in discussing a possible resolution that should lead to a strategy and action plan for dementia as well. This will probably be completed by 2017. The advantage is that every health ministry in the world will need to pay attention to dementia and decide on its position. I expect many of them will reach out to Alzheimer associations for input.
Another development at WHO which came out of the Ministerial Conference in March 2015 and the G7 meetings is the need to create a Global Observatory on Dementia as a data collection instrument and global platform for knowledge exchange. A number of countries have provided funding for this and, although there is a need for more, the Observatory will start soon. WHO wants to work together with ADI on this, and we will soon know more of the plans.