Minister says dementia plan to be launched in province soon

September 22, 2019

LAHORE : To commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day, Alzheimer’s Pakistan in collaboration with Services Institute of Medical Sciences organised a seminar on Alzheimer’s and dementias...

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LAHORE : To commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day, Alzheimer’s Pakistan in collaboration with Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) organised a seminar on Alzheimer’s and dementias at SIMS Auditorium.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the increase in the number of people living with dementia (PWD) is alarming and it is time to initiate the much-needed healthcare services for the elderly, including the PWD, in the province. She announced that that the Punjab Health Department would soon launch a provincial dementia plan. Under this plan, a range of services would be provided such as hospital-based memory clinics, resource mobilisation for early diagnosis and treatment, counselling services to caregivers and mass awareness.

Moreover, a provincial dementia committee has been established by the Health Department which is currently working towards establishing registry of people with dementia at all the hospitals. She also announced the establishment of a dementia centre in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Pakistan at SIMS.

She also launched a report on “Forgotten in Crisis: Addressing dementia in humanitarian response”, co-produced by the Global Alzheimer’s & Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA), Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and Alzheimer’s Pakistan. The report paves the way for humanitarian agencies and government bodies to recognise the unique needs of people with dementia, before, during and after emergencies – something that has so far not been addressed. The report contributes to a growing awareness of the need to address disability in humanitarian settings and is the first report to specifically highlight dementia.

The seminar was started with a welcome address by SIMS Principal Prof Mahmood Ayaz. Dr Adnan Salim, head of Neurology Department, SIMS, gave an overview of dementia and highlighted that the number of PWD around the world was 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 the number of PWD shows that the world is aging fast, resulting in having huge global impact of dementia on societies globally.

Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi from Seoul National University, Korea, launched the report of an international qualitative research conducted in Pakistan titled “Understanding, Beliefs and Treatment of Dementia in Pakistan.” He commented, “Dementia is a global health priority, but progress towards its understanding and treatment in low and middle-income countries has been slow despite rapidly ageing populations. “We hope this report will inform policymakers in Pakistan and across South Asia,” he said.

Prof Dr Iracema Leroi, Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, presented Dementia Research Roadmap in Pakistan: What are the Priorities.

She said that the research roadmap prioritised research questions for dementia research in Pakistan and classified research domains that included public awareness and understanding, prevention, identification, reduction of risk, quality of care for people with dementia and delivery of care and services for people with dementia and their carers.

Dr Hussain Jafri, secretary general, Alzheimer’s Pakistan, said there were around one million PWD in Pakistan, however, there are no services provided by the government. He highlighted Pakistan was 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.

The seminar was attended by a large number of doctors, students and dementia caregivers.

The theme of this year’s World Alzheimer’s Day is “Let’s talk about dementia.” Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affects memory, thinking, behaviour 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.

awareness: Punjab Institute of Neuro Sciences (PINS) Executive Director Prof Dr Khalid Mahmud has stressed the need to create awareness about Alzheimer’s disease in the country.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, Prof. According to the experts of brain and mental diseases the shortage of vitamin B 12, diabetes, paralysis and the problems of sleep cause Alzheimer’s while youngsters should also avoid late sleep and awakening and in-balanced diet, said Dr Khalid Mahmud, a noted neurosurgeon. He said, similarly, those who had head or brain injury in their childhood had more chances of becoming Alzheimer’s patients.

Prof Khalid Mahmud said there were around 5 crore people were patients of Alzheimer’s. “We should save ourselves by avoiding tobacco and other intoxicating items.

He suggested that for better mental growth we should go for book-reading and indoor games like table tennis. He said that while world was observing Alzheimer’s Day, Pakistan is struggling to create awareness about dementia.

On World Alzheimer’s Day, Associate Professor of Neurology Dr Mohsin Zaheer and Assistant Professor of Neurology Dr Shahid Mukhtar in their conversation said that complaints about sleeping as well as remaining restless after awakening in the morning resulted in harming memory. They told that in some cases high blood pressure was also the main cause of Alzheimer’s but it could occur before also in some cases.

We all should remain careful and create awareness about Alzheimer’s and also ensure abiding by the principles which could save us from this disease,” the said.

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