From public recognition of Alzheimer’s disease to reaching policy makers

Interview with Annette Dumas, ASDM Consulting, EU Affairs Director

How does MOPEAD fit into wider EU actions around ageing, and dementia in particular?

Dementia, a condition that mainly affects elderly people, has been recognised as a public health priority worldwide. The number of people living with dementia in Europe (around 7 million), combined with an ageing population, challenge the financial sustainability of national health and social systems. Dementia has wide-ranging social and economic consequences for those living with the condition, those directly affected by the disease (families and carers) and society as a whole.

We now have evidence that early diagnosis leads to significant socio-economic benefits. MOPEAD will thus encourage a cultural shift toward making a timely diagnosis of AD at the initial symptomatic stages of the illness, to provide patients with optimal opportunity for intervention, including involvement in clinical trials. MOPEAD will support EU and national dementia actions in the areas of prevention, early detection and timely diagnosis, care and support to improve the lives of those living the disease and their carers.

MOPEAD is in line with the EU2020 strategy goals, the EU Health for Growth Programme and Horizon 2020 that strive to make healthcare services more sustainable, encourage innovation in health and improve public health.

How can MOPEAD help shape the dementia political agenda, both at EU and national level?

Over the years, dementia has drawn the attention of EU policy makers with the European Commission initiative on Alzheimer’s disease, a couple of EU Joint Actions on dementia and European Parliament work on dementia. At national level, an increasing number of Member States either have a dementia strategy or are drafting one. Globally, the World Dementia Council and WHO are also moving the dementia agenda forward. MOPEAD will further raise awareness among policy makers about the urgency to answer the socio-economic cost of dementia. They will be invited to embrace the cultural shift towards early diagnosis by re-organising the healthcare services and aligning adequate resources to accompany this shift.

By providing information on the most efficient approaches to detect individuals in the community who will be potential candidates for enrolment in targeted dementia clinical trials, MOPEAD will support the research agenda.

What is the added value of MOPEAD for policy makers?

MOPEAD will bring concrete examples of patient engagement strategies that help identify people with dementia at an early stage and make a significant impact on society. This is why EU and national policy makers will be invited to adapt these strategies to their national context and support them with performing diagnostic units across the countries.

MOPEAD should play a major role in keeping all those affected, directly or indirectly, by dementia remain professionally and socially active, ensure access to decent healthcare and safeguard the sustainability of healthcare services.

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