World Dementia Council (WDC) Chair, Professor Yves Joanette, gave an invited lecture at the twelfth annual meeting of the Italian Society for Dementia in Florence, Italy on Thursday 16th March 2017. In his lecture, “A Global Response to the Global Challenge of Dementia,” Professor Joanette talked about the many diseases that cause dementia; the increase in the global impact of dementia, including in terms of the number of people affected and the spiralling cost of the disease; and the fear that dementia causes in older people.
Professor Joanette set out the political push to prioritise dementia, by bringing together experts across the world to bring about an international response, with the aim of identifying a cure or a disease modifying therapy by 2025. He spoke about the creation of WDC in 2014, following the G8 (now G7) Dementia Summit and about the make-up of the Council: 24 expert members drawn from research, academia, industry, the NGO sector, people living with dementia and governments.
He also spoke about the follow-up activity to the Summit, including the first ever WHO Conference on Dementia in 2015, leading to the adoption of a Global Action Plan for Dementia in May; the establishment of a WHO Global Dementia Observatory; and of a working group to identify research priorities to face the global challenge of the disease.
Professor Joanette detailed WDC’s current work priorities, which include our favouring integrated drug development; advocating for innovative and global finance models; encouraging open science collaborative global research, including big data; stimulating adequate care for all people living with dementia and their carers; and facilitating the identification and dissemination of risk reduction strategies, while also integrating the cross-cutting themes of women and dementia; awareness; stigma and inequalities. He also spoke about some of WDC’s specific projects and our work in partnership with other prestigious bodies, such as OECD, WHO, JPND, ADI and GCBH.
The approaches proposed by the Council were welcomed by Professor Stefano Cappa, President of the Organising Committee and were considered innovative and were very well received by attendees at the meeting.
Professor Joanette’s presentation was followed by one by Dr. Terasa Di Fiandra, Chief Psychologist of the National Health Service of Italy and an active contributor in Europe and globally, who presented the Italian Dementia Plan, which is in many aspects corresponds with the vision of the World Dementia Council.