Seminar on Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias

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Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. The number of people living with dementia (PWD) around the world is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 152 million by 2050, if effective risk-reduction strategies are not implemented worldwide. Dementia mainly affects people over the age of 65 years. The rapid increase in number of PWD shows that the world is aging fast, resulting in having huge global impact of dementia on societies globally.

Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. The chemistry of the brain changes and cells, nerves and transmitters are attacked. Eventually the brain shrinks as gaps develop. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

September marks the global World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma. To commemorate World Alzheimer’s Month, Alzheimer’s Pakistan in collaboration with King Edward Medical University (KEMU) organized a Seminar on Alzheimer’s Disease & related Dementias at Patiala block KEMU. Prof. Khalid Masud Gondal, Vice Chancellor KEMU welcomed the participants especially the newly elected Minister of Health Punjab, Dr. Yasmin Rashid. The resource persons of the seminar included, Prof Aftab Asif , Dr. Ali Hashmi, Prof Dr. Sajid Obaidullah and Dr. Hussain Jafri, who presented on different aspects of Dementia. The speakers highlighted that Dementia is a global health priority, but progress towards its understanding and treatment in low and middle-income countries including Pakistan has been slow, despite rapidly ageing populations.

Dr. Hussain Jafri, secretary general Alzheimer’s Pakistan highlighted that there are around one million PWD in Pakistan, however, there are no services provided by the government. He highlighted that the Pakistan is a signatory to World Health Organization’s global plan on dementia thus putting the responsibility of increasing awareness, detection, treatment and care of dementia on the government.

Speaking at this occasion, Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Minister of Health, Punjab said that the increase in the number of PWD is alarming and it is time that we initiate the much needed healthcare services for the elderly in the province including the PWD. She said that for the very first time in the country, the Punjab government shall start geriatric services in government hospitals. Moreover, following WHO’s global plan on dementia, the Punjab Health Department shall soon launch the provincial Dementia plan. Under this plan, a range of services shall be provided such as hospital based memory clinics, resource mobilization for early diagnosis & treatment, counselling services to caregivers and mass awareness.

The seminar was attended by a large number of doctors, students and Dementia caregivers. The seminar ended with vote of thanks by Prof. Syed Asghar Naqi.


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