Publication Date: 28 November 2018 Category:Primary News The Ministry of Public Health launched the national dementia plan for Qatar, representing a comprehensive framework for the ongoing development of care for people living with dementia. The Qatar National Dementia Plan was launched in the presence of Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health for the State of Qatar.This occasion was marked by presence of senior representatives from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), EHSAN - Center for Empowerment and Elderly Care, and the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH).HE the Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Muhammad AL-Kuwari affirmed that the launch of the Qatar National Dementia Plan demonstrates the great care given by the State of Qatar under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani- the Emir of Qatar- to the health and well-being of all segments of society. 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 the State of Qatar.Her Excellency added that caring for the elderly constitutes an integral part of our culture and values. It is their prerogative to receive utmost care, support and attention, especially if they suffer from health problems such as dementia. Dementia is one of the major causes for elderly’s helplessness and dependence. Her Excellency the Minister of Public Health noted: “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.”The Qatar National Dementia Plan 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” for the Healthy Ageing priority population within the National Health Strategy 2018-2022. The plan outlines Qatar’s vision for the development and expansion of future services for people living with dementia. This includes the delivery of dementia care and support for individuals diagnosed with the condition, their carers and families, so they are able to live with dignity, respect, autonomy and equality.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 the Qatar National Dementia Plan, 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. This can only be achieved by working together as individuals, carers, families, communities and organizations, supported by international expert bodies, to ensure that the implementation efforts are well coordinated, offering our elderly population the opportunity to live the best life possible”.The Qatar National Dementia Plan is a framework that sets out seven action areas that address those areas of dementia care that will have the most impact on improving quality of care and the patient experience. These focus on making dementia a public health priority by encouraging dementia awareness and support, improving dementia diagnosis, treatment, care and support, promoting risk reduction, developing information systems for dementia, developing support for carers and supporting research and innovation into the disease.“We recognize the dignity of the older population and the need to both support their independence and respect their contribution to society. This ties in closely with Healthy Aging’, - one of the seven priority domains of the National Health Strategy 2018–2022. Its aim is to improve our population health by creating the right attention for older people to increase their active years, stay well and live at home wherever possible,” said Dr. Mariam Ali Abdulmalik, Managing Director of Primary Health Care Corporation. “Given that easy access to care is essential for elderly patients who often have several health challenges, we are working on developing more primary care services for this patient population, including people with cognitive impairments.” Dr. Hanadi Khamis Al Hamad, Chairperson of Geriatrics and Long Term Care Department at HMC, and was recently appointed National Lead for the "Healthy Ageing” priority within the National Health Strategy 2018-2022 as a result of her efforts in leading the Qatar Dementia Stakeholder Group which collaborated on the design of the National Plan. She states that Qatar’s National Health Strategy recognizes the importance of our elderly population with cognitive impairments and it incorporates a specific domain covering cognitive health under the Healthy Ageing Initiative of the strategy.“If we don’t address the issue now 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 organizations. This plan is designed to ensure Qatar is ready to meet the challenge of dementia with a coordinated, focused approach to care and research,” said Dr. Al Hamad, who is also the focal point for the WHO Global Dementia Observatory project in Qatar. “I am also delighted to see a successful outcome to the partnership between the different Qatar dementia stakeholder working groups. This has resulted in the delivery of a practical national roadmap to help guide our future dementia care development efforts.” The Qatar National Dementia Plan was born out of the recognition that, unless addressed, the human and economic costs related to the condition will rise at an accelerated pace, highlighting the need to keep dementia as a public health priority in the country.