“There were 377,000 people with dementia in Pakistan in 2010. The number would increase to 804,000 in 2030 and by 2050, it would reach 1.779 million,” Dr Yasmin Rashid, patron of Alzheimer’s Pakistan, said on Friday.
Dr Rashid was addressing an advocacy workshop on dementias, diseases that affect the patient’s memory, thinking, behaviour and emotions including the Alzheimer’s disease.
The workshop was organised by the Alzheimer’s Pakistan in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and attended by bureaucrats, parliamentarians and doctors, aimed at urging the government to develop a policy about Alzheimer and related dementias in Pakistan.
Dr Rashid said the cost of care for dementia amounted to more than 1 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), or $604 billion, in 2010. A recent study from the United Kingdom showed that the costs of care for people with dementia exceeded those of cancer, heart disease and strokes combined, she added.
In dementia, she said, the chemistry of the brain changed and its cells, nerves and transmitters were damaged. She said memory loss, disorientation and problems with reasoning and thinking were major symptoms.
Dr Zahid Pervaiz, the Health Department director general said the government was ready to work in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Pakistan to develop a Dementia Centre at Mayo Hospital. This centre, he said, could work as a model for other public institutions.
Dr Saeed Elahi, the parliamentary heath secretary, also assured Alzheimer’s Pakistan of support.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2012.