To support the implementation of the Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 and to build country capacity related to dementia within the WHO Regions of Africa, Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean, the Ministry of Public Health Qatar, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), organized a multi-regional and multi-sectoral dementia workshop, held in Doha, Qatar between 9 and 11 May 2022.
The specific objectives of the workshop were to help 1) develop new or strengthen existing national dementia plans, or integrate dementia into existing aging, mental health, disability or non-communicable diseases policies; 2) orient countries to implement the WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory as a means of strengthening countries’ capacity to develop, implement, and monitor their responses to dementia; and 3) identify concrete activities to be undertaken by countries in the next year (2022-2023), either nationally or regionally, by drawing on available WHO implementation tools covering areas such as carer support (e.g., iSupport carer training programme), dementia prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care (e.g., dementia risk reduction guidelines, mDementia, mhGAP, ICOPE), and dementia-friendly communities (e.g., Towards a dementia-inclusive society: WHO toolkit).
The workshop was attended by dementia experts from 16 countries across the WHO Regions of Africa, Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Countries included: Armenia, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe. Country representatives, civil society, and WHO staff had the opportunity to participate in 11 workshop sessions. The sessions provided opportunity for cross-country and cross-regional exchanges on good practices and lessons learned in the areas of dementia policy, risk reduction, diagnosis, treatment, care and support, support for dementia carers, information systems for dementia, as well as dementia research and innovation.
To strengthen the public heatlh response to dementia, the workshop emphasized the need for stakeholders to:
- further develop and strengthen collaborations with regional experts and across multiple sectors;
- collaborate with carers, mental health associations, and governments to make dementia a priority;
- review and update mental health legislation to ensure the protection of the rights of people living with dementia and their carers;
- increase focus on and commitment to research and monitoring dementia in order to develop more effective dementia-related policies;
- prioritize dementia awareness activities, dementia risk reduction campaigns, and dementia training at all levels, as well as the sustainability of these strategies.
While substantial progress has been made, the public health response to dementia requires continued dedicated commitment and action by all.
For more information about the workshop, please refer to the following links:
- Workshop opening address by Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean: https://www.facebook.com/WHOEMRO/videos/380417387435041/
- Story featured on the WHO EMRO website: WHO works jointly with Qatar to speed up implementation of the action plan on dementia.
- Story featured in the mhGAP newsletter: Implementing the Global action plan on the public health response to dementia: a multi-regional workshop in collaboration between WHO and the Ministry of Public Health Qatar.