Global Coalition on Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease International Call on Countries to Foster Innovation in Dementia Treatment, Prevention, and Care as Global Prevalence Skyrockets

Dementia Innovation Readiness Index Issues Call-to-Action for Argentina, Brazil, China, India, and Saudi Arabia to Prioritize National Plans, Earlier Detection and Diagnosis, Quality Care, and Awareness Campaigns

(Chicago – July 27, 2018) – Today, the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) will present findings from the 2018 Dementia Innovation Readiness Index during ADI’s 33rd Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. The Index analyzes – for the first time ever – the readiness of countries to develop and deploy dementia solutions into their healthcare, policy and social frameworks. This year’s Index evaluates Argentina, Brazil, China, India, and Saudi Arabia. On a 0-10 scale, with 10 being the highest in terms of innovation readiness, scores were as follows: Argentina – 5.3, Brazil – 5.0, China – 6.1, India – 5.1, and Saudi Arabia – 5.9.

Michael W. Hodin, PhD, CEO of GCOA said, “The Dementia Innovation Readiness Index provides leaders across these five countries a comprehensive look into the critical levers that lend to the facilitation of innovation in dementia prevention, treatment and care.

“Governments, NGOs, academia, and industry all have important roles to play as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia threaten to become the fiscal nightmare of the 21st century. Even in these countries with younger populations, preparation for the onslaught of dementia that comes with the aging of society cannot wait, and innovation is the key.”

The Index evaluates innovation readiness across 10 categories and identifies specific opportunities and challenges to promote innovation. Among the countries profiled this year, the 65+ population is highest in Argentina at 11.6% and lowest in Saudi Arabia at 3.3%. In comparison, 17.9% of the G7 countries’ population is over 65. And yet, developing countries will be home to nearly 70% of people with dementia by 2050 as the result of population aging.

Paola Barbarino, CEO of ADI said, “The projected increases in the prevalence of dementia around the world present massive health and financial challenges not only for governments and societies, but also individuals, families, and communities.

“People with dementia need early diagnosis, clear care pathways, access to skilled caregiving, and, most importantly, they need their voices to be heard. We encourage leaders in these five countries to use the Index as a wake-up call and roadmap for implementing dementia plans, developing comprehensive funding strategies for research, and raising awareness of dementia across the board.”

The Index found that, although Argentina, Brazil, China, India, and Saudi Arabia have younger populations than G7 countries, they face many of the same barriers to dementia innovation, including limited public leadership and funding, uneven access to high-quality care, and difficulty with early, accurate diagnosis. However, because of their relative youth, these countries lack focus on – and even recognition of – issues related to dementia. Further, the barriers to innovation are exacerbated by resource limitations including, in some cases, extreme poverty.

Huali Wang of the Peking University Institute of Mental Health, China said, “One challenge we must overcome in China is the wide variability in levels of care people receive based on where they live.

“While people living in certain urban areas receive high-quality care, those in rural areas and villages may struggle to receive timely diagnosis and appropriate care.”

The Index’s assessments of the five countries finds that only Argentina has a national dementia plan, which is a program led by Programa de Atención Médica Integral (PAMI) – the Argentine agency responsible for elder care. However, some regional and local areas with rapidly aging populations – such as Tucumán, Argentina, and Kerala, India – are taking the initiative to prioritize and respond to dementia, providing a possible model for larger-scale innovation.

Dr. Ricardo Allegri, Institute for Neurological Research (FLENI), Argentina said, “While it’s encouraging to see local efforts in Argentina, the country also needs a sustained commitment from the national government to promote dementia innovation – and the funds to back it up.”

Other key findings from the Index include:

  • Under-diagnosis is a barrier to fully understanding and treating dementia. Better diagnostic tools and healthcare professionals specializing in geriatrics and dementiawill be critical for ensuring countries can adequately address the individual and societal burden brought by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Brazil, for instance, community health workers are trained to identify signs of dementia and refer patients to specialists.
  • The regulatory environment has been slow to evolve with the urgency of the disease. Well-funded and efficient regulatory agencies must be prioritized to ensure therapiescan reach people with dementia in a timely manner.
  • The business community is not integrated into strategies to provide solutions for dementia and should be encouraged and incentivized to bring innovations in medicines and new care models, including maximizing the potential of technology and data.
  • As seen in India, prevention campaigns can serve as an effective and cost-efficient strategy to raise awareness and help the general public and healthcare providers better prepare for the projected increases in dementia.
  • Planning now will ensure these countries with younger populations are prepared for the coming demographic shift. For instance, Saudi Arabia, with currently only 3.3% of its population over 65, has a unique opportunity to innovate now so that in 20 years, solutions that lessen or eliminate the burden of dementia will already be in place.

Index findings are based on an expansive set of survey research, data analysis, and interviews with dozens of experts and representatives from each of the countries studied. These experts represent thousands of stakeholders in the fight against dementia and provide nuanced insights on both common themes and country-specific needs. This year’s Index expands on the first edition of the Index, published in 2017, which focused on G7 countries.

In addition, today GCOA and ADI released the Dementia Innovation Readiness Index: G7 Progress Report, highlighting notable progress since the initial Index was published last year. These developments include an unprecedented level of investment in dementia research by the U.S. government, a commitment from Canada to create a national dementia plan, and the launch of innovative workforce recruitment models in Germany and Japan.

“Policymakers should take a close look at both the 2018 Index and the G7 progress report. They go beyond reporting and provide clear, actionable steps to ensure that people with dementia and their families can get the support they deserve – today, tomorrow, and 10 years from now,” said Lenny Shallcross, Executive Director of the World Dementia Council. “These reports have essential information that can help leaders to design and implement real, powerful solutions for the oncoming dementia crisis.”

The 2018 Dementia Innovation Readiness Index and the G7 Progress Report will be presented today at 5:45 p.m. alongside a panel of experts at the 33rd Annual Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in Chicago. Speakers will include:

  • Michael Hodin, PhD, CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
  • Chris Lynch, Policy, Communications and Publications Director and Deputy CEO, Alzheimer’s Disease International
  • Mary Alexander, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Healthcare Integration, Home Instead Senior Care
  • Ricardo Allegri, Institute for Neurological Research(FLENI)
  • Meera Pattabiraman, Chairperson, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India
  • André Trottier, Senior International Health Policy Leader, Roche

The session is open to the media.

CONTACT

Melissa Mitchell Executive Director
Global Coalition on Aging
mmitchell@globalcoalitiononaging.com
+1 646 404 1149

Jake Hauritz
Alzheimer’s Disease International
jh@manacommunications.com
+61 478 128 268

Kate Elliott
Alzheimer’s Disease International
k.elliott@alz.co.uk
+00 44 7779 870982

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