The World Dementia Council (WDC) has published a report setting out the progress it has made against its five priorities in the past year, as well as calling for further action to tackle dementia globally.
The WDC, led by World Dementia Envoy Dennis Gillings, was formed following the G8 dementia summit in December 2013. The Council’s initial focus was on finance, global integrated development and open science and data. Over the past year, this has widened to include two further priorities, care and risk reduction, to take a more holistic approach to improving dementia prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.
The main pieces of progress highlighted in the report are as follows:
The WDC unanimously endorsed a proposal for the establishment of a pre-clinical fund. With this in mind, the UK government has since driven fund development work forward, exploring options in more detail with potential investors since the council’s third meeting. In February 2015, the UK government confirmed it had come together with investors from the private and philanthropic sectors to establish a multi-million pound fund for pre-clinical research, which includes a £15 million UK government contribution.
The WDC was extremely encouraged by the first joint meeting of medicines regulators, convened by WDC member Raj Long on behalf of the UK government in November 2014. At this meeting, 11 regulators from 10 jurisdictions across the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and Switzerland were brought together for the first time, to work collaboratively on dementia.
The WDC highlighted risk reduction as an important tool for governments (and others) to tackle dementia, and to encourage them to adopt or strengthen such an approach, through the publication of a risk reduction statement in January 2015.
The Council is aware that there is still a lot more to do. Throughout the report, it has made recommendations for further action, which it believes is critical to continuing – and accelerating – the global momentum of the past year.