Dementia — a rising concern for us | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 05, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 05, 2011

Dementia — a rising concern for us


Dementia is the loss of cognitive function — the ability to memorise things or to process thought. With the increasing life expectancy, dementia is increasing at an alarming rate in Asia including Bangladesh. Dementia care has got least priority in healthcare policy in Bangladesh and most often, people living with the condition go undiagnosed or not managed well.
Of the 35 million people currently living with dementia globally, 58 percent live in low- and middle-income countries like Bangladesh. This figure is projected to reach 71 percent of the total by 2050. Eastern Asia and southern Asia will see dementia growth rates more than double in the coming 20 years.
Alzheimer disease is the most common cause of dementia, but it is often used as an umbrella term for several conditions (e.g. Stroke, Parkinson’s disease and some other neurological diseases) causing dementia.
There are simple protocols and flowcharts, providing a guidance process for diagnosis and descriptions of psycho-social interventions including those for caregivers.
As the number of specialists is limited, experts emphasised the need to involve community health workers, primary care doctors and nurses in a community-based programme to deal with rising mental disorders, specially dementia.
Experts urge to support families of people with dementia using locally available resources in a resource poor setting like Bangladesh. Like most countries in Asia, Bangladesh has not formulated public health policies directly targeting the burden of dementia and it is not yet integrated in primary care arrangements. Although Dementia will be a significant problem associated with an ageing population, it does not receive the recognition it deserves.

Source: Bulletin, WHO

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