The Qatar National Dementia Plan (QNDP) 2018-2022 was launched Tuesday in the presence of HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, at a ceremony.
QNDP focuses on seven action areas and aims to set out the vision for future services for people with dementia, their families and carers.
The objective is to raise public and professional awareness on dementia and encourage timely diagnosis and early intervention as well as improving post diagnostic treatment and care.
The seven action areas are: Dementia as a public health priority; dementia awareness and friendliness; dementia risk reductions; dementia diagnosis, treatment, care and support; support for dementia carers; information systems for dementia and dementia research and innovation.
The event was attended by senior representatives from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation as well as other healthcare organisations and research institutes in the country.
HE Dr al-Kuwari affirmed that the launch of QNDP demonstrates the great care given by Qatar under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the health and well-being of all segments of society.
She highlighted that such great care is extended even further to include the elderly, especially in light of the growing number of people with dementia globally, which calls for including dementia among the public health priorities in Qatar.
“We seek to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, through the concerted efforts of all stakeholders and to promote public awareness and improve all the necessary services,” added the minister.
QNDP represents the first steps in achieving the 2022 national target of a “one-year increase in Healthy Life Years for the over 65-year-old population” in the Healthy Ageing priority population within the National Health Strategy 2018-2022.
Dr Salih Ali al-Marri, assistant minister for Health Affairs at MoPH said, “Populations around the world including that of Qatar are rapidly aging. This presents both benefits, in the form of our elderly population contributing to the richness of our society, and challenges due to an increasing demand for specialist services across the healthcare sector. The launch of QNDP, one of the first to be launched in the Middle East, demonstrates our sincere commitment to ensuring we are properly prepared to support our aging population.”
According to Dr Hanadi Khamis al-Hamad, chairperson, Geriatrics and Long Term Care Department at HMC and national lead for the "Healthy Ageing” priority within the National Health Strategy 2018-2022, there were 900 people with recorded dementia diagnosis as per HMC Dementia Audit Report, 2017. The 2017 UN population estimates that among people over 60 years in Qatar, over 4,400 may currently be suffering from dementia.
“If we don’t address the issue of the growing prevalence of dementia, it will have far-reaching implications for our country. I am therefore delighted to see the positive support we have seen from the government of Qatar as well as private and public organisations. This plan is designed to ensure Qatar is ready to meet the challenge of dementia with a co-ordinated, focused approach to care and research,” said Dr al-Hamad.
Prof Sube Banerjee, associate dean for strategy and professor of dementia at Sussex University delivered the keynote speech at the event and highlighted that improving public and professional attitude and understanding of dementia, better diagnosis of dementia and better prevention and treatment options are the three ways to counter the challenge of dementia.