Mental health

Development of a draft global action plan on the public health response to dementia

Why do we need a global action plan on the public health response to dementia?

Dementia poses a burden to individuals, communities, and societies. It is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. It is overwhelming not only for people with dementia, but also for their carers and families. There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care.

The Executive Board in its 139th session “noted that the response to the global burden of dementia can be greatly enhanced by a shared commitment among Member States and all other stakeholders to put in place necessary policies and resources for care of people with dementia, to promote research, to find disease-modifying treatments or cure, and to give adequate priority to action against dementia in national and global political agendas.”

Context

Paragraph 2 of the Executive Board decisions EB139/DIV./2 “requests the WHO Director-General to develop with the full participation of Member States and in cooperation with other relevant stakeholders a draft global action plan on the public health response to dementia, with clear goals and targets, for consideration by the Seventieth World Health Assembly, through the 140th session of the Executive Board”.

In response, the WHO Secretariat prepared a zero draft of the global action plan on the public health response to dementia. The zero draft included the proposed vision, strategic action areas and a set of recommended actions which, when performed collectively by Member States, international partners and the WHO Secretariat, will improve the care and quality of life of people with dementia, their carers and families and ultimately decrease the impact of dementia on society.

This zero draft was used as the basis for informal consultations with Member States, UN agencies and other non-State actors such as relevant nongovernmental organizations, private sector entities, philanthropic foundations and academic institutions.

Consultative process

In order to facilitate the consultation process, a number of mechanisms were put into place including virtual and face-to-face consultations.

  • From July to August 2016, internal consultations with regional offices and relevant WHO departments at headquarters supported the development of the zero draft global action plan on the public health response to dementia. To assist Member States, UN agencies and non-State actors, WHO background material has been made available at the right-hand side of this page.
  • The zero draft of the global action plan on the public health response to dementia in English was made available for online consultation through this webpage. Please click here to view/download it. The translated version in other official languages (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) were added in mid-September 2016.
  • Member States, United Nations agencies, and non-State actors (including relevant nongovernmental organizations, private sector entities, philanthropic foundations, and academic institutions and other stakeholders) were invited to submit their comments in response to the zero draft by participating in a web-based consultation or by sending an email to whodementia@who.int until 15 October 2016.
  • WHO regional offices, Member States and relevant nongovernmental organizations were invited to organize face-to-face consultations or webinars at regional, subregional or national levels as part of the forthcoming regional committees and their side-events or during other regional, subregional and national meetings.
  • The WHO Secretariat also convened a consultation with Member States, United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations on the zero draft as part of the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Forum on 10 October 2016. Forty-six Member States were represented by their Geneva-based missions.
  • For a summary of comments received during the consultation from Member States, United Nations agencies and other non-State actors please click here.
  • The outcomes of the consultation served as input for the WHO Secretariat to prepare a revised draft of the global action plan on the public health response to dementia that has been submitted for review at the 140th session of the Executive Board.

Other relevant WHO action plans