The Young Leaders join the efforts for a WHO Global Action Plan to respond to dementia


The global dementia landscape is immensely diverse, and countries differ in their response to dementia. This concerns health and social care, dementia awareness of the general population, research efforts to tackle dementia cure and care, and programs to reduce dementia risk ( also called “prevention”). Leading countries are becoming “dementia-friendly” and investing much time and efforts into helping people to live well with dementia. However, in other countries, dementia is still a reason for mistreatment and associated with stigma. Policy responses may be fragmented or non-existent. The WHO is working to improve the global situation in dementia to lift each country’s response to dementia to a higher level. Therefore the WHO will soon ask countries all over the world to adopt a set of public health principles and actions which can be considered state-of-the-art responses to dementia. This was first presented as a draft to stakeholders and organizations last September, which were asked to review and suggest amendments. Click here for the latest draft.

We at WYLD joined those efforts. I led a review group with WYLD members from Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and the UK to compile a response to the draft plan. Now that the revised plan has been circulated, we are happy to see that several of our suggestions made it into the revised draft plan.

What are the next steps? The WHO plan is now being sent to the WHO Executive Board (expected debate January 27) with the recommendation that it is adopted by the World Health Assembly in May. But there will also be future collaborations between WYLD and WHO: Several members from WYLD Japan and Europe/U.S. are planning workshops at the ADI 2017 ( and AAIC 2017 ( to develop indicators for Dementia-Friendly Communities. These results will be fed into a WHO Dementia Friendly Community toolkit and hopefully benefit communities and their citizens all over the world.

Anja Leist
Senior researcher at University of Luxembourg, WYLD Steering Committee