World failing to address dementia challenge, says WHO’s report

ADDIS ABABA – Only a quarter of countries worldwide have a national policy, strategy or plan for supporting people with dementia and their families, according to the WHO’s ‘Global status report on the public health response to dementia’, released today.

Half of these countries are in WHO’s European Region, with the remainder split between the other Regions. Yet even in Europe, many plans are expiring or have already expired, indicating a need for renewed commitment from governments.

At the same time, the number of people living with dementia is growing according to the report.



WHO estimates that more than 55 million people (8.1 % of women and 5.4% of men over 65 years) are living with dementia.

This number is estimated to rise to 78 million by 2030 and to 139 million by 2050, according to the report.

Dementia is caused by a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke. It affects memory and other cognitive functions, as well as the ability to perform everyday tasks.

The disability associated with dementia is a key driver of costs related to the condition.

In 2019 alone, the global cost of dementia was estimated to be US$ 1.3 trillion, says the report adding the cost is projected to increase to US$ 1.7 trillion by 2030, or US$ 2.8 trillion if corrected for increases in care costs.

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