Tag Archives: World Health Organisation

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!

 

 

 

The economic and human cost of dementia

There is no doubt there is an enormous economic cost to dementia, not only to the person diagnosed, but also to their care partners, families and support persons (if they are lucky enough to have any), and to the health care sector and our governments. Our latest graphic clearly highlights this, and is based on data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) website published last year.

Apart from the economic cost of dementia, there is a significant human cost to this disease, and you can find many blogs, published journal articles, media stories (print and digital) and books on this, written by professionals, academics, care partners and yes, even many people with dementia.

Too often, the person is not seen, and only the symptoms are. Our deficits are focused on, and we don’t receive appropriate disability support nor recognition for the assets we have retained. These are often completely ignored. It is why we also campaign globally for our human rights for better support and services. We must also be supported to live more positively with dementia, from the time of diagnosis.

One of DAI’s goal is to empower other people with dementia to live more positively with it, and as such, try and reduce some of the human cost of dementia. In doing this, we promote engagement, peer-to-peer support and participation at events and educational webinars, albeit mostly online, for our members and also for the wider dementia community.

Most of our members, when they first join DAI have been advised to get their end of life affairs in order, and often, even to choose a respite day care centre and nursing home. When that happens, most people (and our families) spiral into a dark and depressing place, and become fearful and afraid of what lies ahead.

Jerry Wylie, our Vice Chair made a plea on Facebook on March 31, 1:30 PM, as follows:

“Will you take the time to read this to the end? It’s is not about me and never will be…. I wake up every day praying, that what I managed to do yesterday might make a difference in the “lived experience” for the “people” being diagnosed with dementia today and tomorrow.

Globally there is:

  • 1 diagnosis Every 3 seconds
  • 1,200 “people” diagnosed Every hour
  • 28,800 “people” diagnosed Every Day
  • 876,000 “people” diagnosed Every Month
  • 10,512,000 million “people” diagnosed Every Year

Unfortunately, “people”, society and governments seem callous and unwilling to support simple, cost effective improvements to our “lived experience”.

They prefer spending Billions upon Billions every year on finding a magic cure, whilst the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world have abandoned research due to their failure to get positive results.

In the meantime, nearly nothing beyond lip service is being done or invested in what actually helps us that are diagnosed.

The result is Needless & Unnecessary suffering for countless millions of “people”.

Dementia Alliance International “goes beyond lip service” and is changing “peoples” lived experience every single day but, nobody seems to want to help us financially. I guess it’s because we all have Dementia?

I imagine nearly every person who took the time to read this post can afford to donate “$10.00 A MONTH” so we can reach and offer weekly peer to peer support to the 10,500,000 million “people” diagnosed every year.

Here is your opportunity to help us help these people! Please click on this link and give as generously as you may. If you don’t, who will? $10.00 per month.”

THANK YOU JERRY FOR OPENING YOUR HEART TO US ALL

WHO announces Civil Society Working Group

The World Health Organization (WHO) has this week announced the members of the Civil Society Working Group on the third UN HLM on NCDs, comprised of 26 civil society representatives and co-chaired by WHO ADG Dr Svetlana Akselrod and NCDA CEO Katie Dain.  DAI congratulates to Katie Dain, the CEO of the NCD Alliance in her role as co-chair.

WHO Civil Society Working Group on the third High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on NCDs

In October 2017, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced the establishment of a civil society Working Group for the third High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on NCDs in 2018.

The Working Group’s aim is to advise the Director-General on bold and practical recommendations on mobilizing civil society in a meaningful manner to advocate for a highly successful high-level meeting, one which proves to be a tipping point for the NCD and mental health response.

The Working Group will be co-chaired by Katie Dain, CEO, NCD Alliance (NGO), and Svetlana Axelrod, Assistant Director-General for NCDs and Mental Health, WHO. The WHO GCM/NCD Secretariat will act as Secretariat for the Working Group.

NCDs kill 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 each year. NCDs particularly affect low- and lower-middle income countries, where almost 50% of premature deaths from these conditions occur.

In 2015, world leaders committed to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Recent WHO reports indicate that the world will struggle to meet that target based on the current rate of change and action.”

The Working Group’s aim is to advise the WHO Director-General on practical but also recommendations that include ‘thinking outside of the box’ on mobilising civil society in a meaningful manner to advocate for a successful high-level meeting in New York.

It is pleasing that DAI has been invited to join this committee, and  is being involved in this work, and we thank the WHO for this invitation, and therefore the acknowledgement of our important work.

The 142nd WHO Executive Board meeting

Dementia Alliance Interntional thanks the CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International Paola Barbarino for representing the global dementia community recently at the 142nd WHO Executive meeting to ensure dementia is included in the World Health Organisation (WHO) draft 13th General programme of work 2019-2023. You can read ADI’s statement here and watch her speech below.