LAHORE - Alzheimer’s Pakistan on Sunday launched the World Alzheimer Report 2015: 'The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends’.

Speaking on the launching of the report at a press conference, Patron Alzheimer’s Pakistan Dr Yasmin Raashid said that there were around one million PWD (people with dementia) in Pakistan and the number would increase sharply in the future. The report calls for a specific global work stream from all stakeholders focused on assisting low income countries like Pakistan to develop programmes to raise awareness and improve access to early diagnosis and care.

President Alzheimer’s Pakistan Zia Rizvi said “The findings also highlight the importance of supporting the PWD and their carriers, and also encourage healthy lifestyle changes which may reduce the risk of dementia.”

Secretary General Alzheimer’s Pakistan Dr Hussain Jafri said: “The rising global cost of dementia will pose serious challenges to health and social care systems globally including Pakistan. These findings demonstrate the urgent need for the government to implement policies and legislation to provide a better quality of life for PWD, now and in the future.”

September is celebrated as World Alzheimer’s Month (WAM). Alzheimer’s Pakistan is organising a number of events during September 2015 to create awareness about the disease. One of the key events being organised by Alzheimer’s Pakistan is a grand quiz amongst medical colleges on “healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of dementia”. A total of 12 medical colleges from all over the country are participating in the quiz. Each medical college has a 5 member team which had been selected from preliminary quiz held in colleges between 14-17th of September, 2015 and will participate in the grand quiz finale on 30th September in Lahore.

According to the world report, there are currently around 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world, with numbers projected to nearly double every 20 years, increasing to 74.7 million by 2030 and 131.5 million by 2050. There are over 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, implying one new case every 3.2 seconds.

The report shows that the current annual societal and economic cost of dementia is US $818 billion, and it is expected to become a trillion dollar disease in just three years’ time. This means that if global dementia care were a country, it would be the 18th largest economy in the world. It is estimated that 58% of all people living with dementia (PWD) today reside in low and middle income countries, a proportion that is anticipated to rise to 68% by 2050, driven mainly by population growth and an ageing global population. It is also expected that by 2050, nearly half of all PWD globally will live in Asia.