Addressing dementia in the Czech Republic

In accordance with WHO recommendations embodied in the Global Dementia Action Plan 2017-2025, the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic initiated important systemic changes to strengthen dementia policy. As a first step, a national dementia focal point was appointed within the ministry. The role of the focal point was twofold: to act within the country in gathering information about gaps in the system as well as creating a platform of key stakeholders, and to connect the country to international structures such as WHO or Alzheimer Europe. While the former activity mainly indicated what needs to be done, the latter provided valuable methodological support in how to achieve it. As a result of this effort, three particular activities stand out in the current dementia policy in Czechia. First, the Czech Republic joined the Global Dementia Observatory (GDO) initiative and created a structured situation analysis based on GDO indicators. Second, The National Action Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Illnesses 2020-2030 (the Plan) was developed during 2019 according to the document Towards a dementia plan: a WHO guide. To ensure multisectoral collaboration, the Plan is a joint initiative of both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and is currently being approved by the Cabinet. Third, thanks to an established collaboration and positive experience with methodological support from WHO, the Czech Republic decided for a rapid adaptation of iSupport as a response to the Covid-19 situation, which created additional burden for family caregivers.