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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Pune Declaration on “Dementia- the need for a national strategy and a Call for Action”-2011

Whereas, the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India(ARDSI), is a national organization dedicated to the care, support and research of dementia in the country and is a full member of the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), which seeks to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers and particularly to raise awareness about the disease.

We make this Declaration to increase awareness of the rapidly increasing prevalence of dementia in India, to support the rights of persons with dementia and their family members and caregivers, and to call for action. For the purpose of this Document, dementia is defined as a chronic, progressive and terminal disorder involving deterioration in multiple areas of cognitive functioning, and one often associated with behavioural, psychological and functional impairment;

We note the number of persons over the age of 60 years and older who suffer from dementia in India  is an estimated 3.7 million in the year 2010, with 2.1 million women and 1.5 million men affected by it.[1]

We observe and stress, the devastating and debilitating impact of dementia on the individuals suffering from it, the families and caregivers of these individuals and society in general, robbing the afflicted persons primarily of their Dignity and Self- Respect, of their memory, cognitive functioning, their ability to carry out their daily chores and participate in community life, burdening families and society with the intense costs, both direct and indirect,  of health and social care related to dementia;

We observe with concern that the healthcare needs of persons afflicted by dementia are not recognized separately from the other mental health care needs of older persons, that these are not accorded the priority in government planning and programmes, and that India does not have a separate national policy on dementia and neither a national strategy on the same;

We acknowledge the declaration adopted by the International Longevity Centers- Global Alliance (ILC-GA) partners at Cape Town in 2010 and the foresight of the governments that have implemented the National Plans for Alzheimer’s Related Disorders or the National Strategy for Dementia.

We affirm the human rights of all persons, within the context of this document, emphasise the human rights of the older persons with disabilities. We recall the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognizes the right to ‘the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.’ We also recall the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which obligates State Parties to implement measures to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities including dementia;

We also note that the Planning Commission as well as the revised National Policy on Older Persons of India have taken cognizance of the issue of Dementia and have suggested concrete measures to address the issues and concerns of people affected by dementia;

We invite all the stakeholders of the cause of population ageing at the state and national levels to support and adopt this Pune Declaration on Dementia and strengthen cooperation in addressing dementia and its impact.

Now, therefore, the Alzheimer’s and  Related Disorders Society of India

Proclaims this  Pune Declaration on “Dementia- the need for a national strategy of India” to be a call for action from all levels of government, and for civil society, academia, communities and individuals to promote and protect the rights of persons with dementia as well as the rights of their family members and caregivers, by:

1.    Engaging in a multidisciplinary dialogue to establish a common framework of standards for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dementia;
2.    Urging the government to develop and implement national integrated policies and plans of action dedicated to dementia, including a national strategy on dementia, as well as comprehensive policies and plans of action on ageing which incorporate dementia;
3.    Urging increased funding by governmental and non governmental sources of research on all aspects of dementia and associated caregiving;
4.    Requesting and urging pharmaceutical companies to supply affordable dementia medications;
5.    Urging the government to support the provisions for the training of healthcare professionals in geriatrics in general, and in dementia in particular and also to enhance the dementia screening and diagnostic skills;
6.    Supporting efforts of governmental and nongovernmental bodies to create awareness on healthy ageing, and measures to prevent or delay the onset of dementia;
7.    Urging the media to enhance qualitative advocacy of the cause of population ageing in general, and of dementia, in particular;
8.    Supporting the efforts of governmental and nongovernmental organizations to reduce the discrimination and isolation of people affected by dementia.
9.    Providing support, including training and respite care services, to informal caregivers of older persons with dementia.

ARDSI National and all State Chapters
Chaitanya Mental Health Care Centre, Pune
International Longevity Centre-India (ILC-I)
27th November 2011


[1] The Dementia India Report 2010 (Prevalence, Impact, Costs and Services for Dementia) of ARDSI.

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