Day 2 World Health Assembly #WHA71

It seems I may have implied I would write a blog for every day of the World Health Assembly this week, to report to members and others what has been happening in Geneva. Of course, this is quite an undertaking, considering the length of the days and the energy it takes to get through them, and to write a blog. But, I am attempting to live up to my promise!

The Alzheimer’s Society UK has renamed it’s annual awareness raising week to Dementia Action Week, and it is unusual this year that this coincides with the 71st World Health Assembly and the 70th birthday of the World Health Organisation, almost blurring the topics on which to write about.

But of course, we all want Action.

We, meaning those of us diagnosed with dementia, have been waiting for ACTION for many years. Perhaps what I am sharing now, will lead to real action, for all people with any type of disability, including those caused by dementia.

Hence, this blog is not about reporting on the sessions I have been attending or involved in today specific to Day 2 of the 71st World Health Assembly, which I had promised, but rather, to report on a new venture, that DAI has been involved in, and is now a key part of.

For me personally, as I have been advocating for rehabilitation for dementia for many long years, it felt like the best day of the last 10 years of my life, since my diagnosis at the age of 49!

This new Association, The Global Rehabilitation Alliance  was born from the meeting in Geneva which I attended representing DAI in February 2017, REHABILITATION 2030: A CALL TO ACTION,  and the work and global collaboration since this forum.

Many do not yet believe rehabilitation and dementia go in the same sentence, including many rehabilitation specialists, in spite of there being very good evidence for it as far back as 2008 (possibly further, but my energy to research this any more is low!).  

The participants of the Rehabilitation 2030 meeting in 2017 committed to strengthening health and social systems to deliver rehabilitation services.  Strong global advocacy will be vital to the successful implementation of this goal, and this new group hopes to do just that.

Historically, however, rehabilitation stakeholders have been fragmented and lacked a unifying platform for strong and consistent messaging and collaboration. The Alliance aims to fill this critical gap, bringing together motivated and committed stakeholders across disciplines and spheres of influence towards a common vision. 

 The Global Rehabilitation Alliance Vision Statement:

The Alliance envisions a world where every person has access to timely, quality and user-centred rehabilitation services.

Dementia Alliance International is now a founding member of this new Association, and together, we now have an opportunity to influnce key staeholders in the value of rehabilitatin for all people with dementia. I don’t currently have the full list of the 14 founding member organisations, but it includes the World Federation for NeuroRehabilitation (WFNR), World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC), the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), the ICRC MoveAbility Foundation,  Humanity & Inclusion (HII), the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, the  Global Alliance for Muscoloskeletal Health (GMusc), and DAI!

DAI is in a unique position to ensure people with dementia are afforded the same rights to rehabilitation as all others, and can now very loudly demand rehabilitation in National Dementia Strategies or Plans, and Clinical Dementia Guidelines.

I’m sure those without dementia will not really understand the significance of this, but for me and I am sure many others living with dementia who have been denied easily accessible and affordable rehabilitation, it heralds the start of a new era, where people with invisible cognitive and other disabilites due to their dementia will also be incuded in the global push for accessible and affordable rehabilitation for all.

Onwards and upwards, together, fighting for our #Rights4All

Kate Swaffer
Demantia Alliance Inernational
Chair, CEO & Co-founder

 

The group photo below is of the 14 founding organisations, names and all orgnisations to be provided as soon as possible!