“Although dementia is the seventh leading cause of death globally, dementia research accounts for less than 1.5 per cent of total health research output”, said WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan.

“Sadly, we are falling behind implementing the Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-25,” she continued, adding that addressing dementia comprehensively requires “research and innovation to be an integral part of the response”.

Rules of engagement

Strategies are needed to better understand, prevent, and treat the underlying diseases that cause dementia and, at the same time, provide care and support to people who suffer from it, as well as those who care for them.

Research needs to be conducted within an enabling environment, where collaborations are fostered, and equitable and sustained investment is realized, the UN health agency maintained.  

Those are the objectives behind WHO’s new blueprint for dementia research, the first WHO initiative of its kind for noncommunicable diseases.

It’s designed to provide guidance to policy makers, funders, and the research community on dementia research, making it more efficient, equitable, and impactful.

From blueprint to best practice

WHO is encouraging national and international research agencies, together with financing bodies, to use the blueprint to inform upcoming funding and operationalize research.

At the same time, civil society should ensure that advocacy efforts are also aligned, supporting a more equitable, efficient, and collaborative research landscape. 

UN Health News

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