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Irish Ministerial absence from WHO conference on dementia worrying- Lynn Boylan MEP

17 March, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has questioned the Irish government's non-attendance at the first WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action against Dementia. 

For the first time Ministers from around the world and research, clinical and NGO experts on dementia are coming together with the aim of raising awareness of the socio-economic burden created by dementia, and how this could be alleviated by placing dementia high on the public health agenda.

 Speaking today Ms Boylan said:

 "It is my understanding that no one from the Department of Health is attending this global ministerial conference. I understand that Ministers have busy agendas but given the seriousness of the issue, the complete absence of an Irish government representative is worrying.

Dementia strategy should be on the Irish government’s list of health priorities given that, according to the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, Alzheimer’s affects 48,000 people in Ireland including 4,000 people under the age of 65.

This figure is set to treble in a generation placing a significant burden on the Irish health system. The fact that only 11% of nursing homes have dedicated dementia care units also contributes to the problem.

There are approximately 50,000 dementia family carers in Ireland, some of who have undoubtedly been impacted by the respite care cuts and yet the government has nobody in attendance at the conference where the theme is centred on the socio economic burden created by dementia!

In addition the government’s National Dementia Strategy, which was launched last December, is stalled and has yet to announce new services.

If the government truly wishes to engage with this issue and develop best practice going forward surely its attendance is warranted at this internationalconference?”

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