An interview with Dr. Matthew Norton, conducted by Kate Anderton, BSc

Why is dementia a big concern for healthcare officials and governments?

There are around 10 million new cases of dementia each year, at an estimated cost to the global economy of a trillion dollars, and 26 billion pounds a year in the UK. Aside from the significant financial impact, the condition not only affects those with dementia, but their close friends and family.

Five years ago, the UK government pledged to find a new treatment that could significantly halt or slow down dementia by 2025. Various governments and organizations across the globe have been helping to achieve this goal, but we are still lacking in momentum.

The problem is that we started from a very low base. In the UK, for example, it was around one in six cancer researchers to dementia researchers, and now we’re down to about one in four.

In the UK, across all age groups, and genders, dementia is now the leading cause of death, although the figures are skewed towards those in later life and older people. This spurred the WHO to develop the 2017 Global Action Plan for Dementia, particularly due to its prevalence in low income countries.

Please describe the WHO’s Global Action Plan for Dementia.

The WHO Global Action Plan focuses on the public health's response to dementia, and outlines ways in which governments can address the health and social aspects of the condition.

What actions were taken by governments in response to the WHA’s Global Action Plan?

It’s only been a year since the action plan was set up, but so far just 27 WHO member states have proposed national plans for dementia and around 28, according to a recent report, are in development. This means we're still a long way from hitting the target of 146 countries.  In a recent report by Alzheimer’s Disease International, it was clear that the world is not on track for meeting the 2025 target. Is 2025 a realistic target?



Read the full interview at News-Medical.Net


About Dr. Matthew Norton

Dr Matthew Norton joined Alzheimer’s Research UK as Head of Policy and Public Affairs in 2013 and leads on policy development and stakeholder engagement.


News Medical