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WISH joins WHO in bringing the avoidable burden of dementia to the global stage and calling for urgent action in the face of unremitting diagnosis

Following the recent publication of the WISH 2015 report ‘A Call To Action: The Global Response To Dementia Through Policy Innovation’, a delegation from WISH participated in the WHO’s inaugural Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia on 16 and 17 March 2015.

Supported by the British government’s Department of Health, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the two-day meeting brought together more than 400 policymakers, healthcare experts and NGOs from 80 countries, to address the increasing global threat posed by dementia and its impact on health and development.

Through its participation on this global stage, WISH highlights Qatar Foundation’s mission to inspire and promote healthcare development and reform through a global network of high-level policymakers, academics and industry leaders. It remains closely aligned to the vision and mission of QF to unlock human potential and underscore Qatar’s pioneering role as an emerging centre for healthcare innovation. WISH has held its last two summits in the Qatari capital Doha.

Ms. Noor Al-Sada, Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Office, delivered a speaking note on behalf of Qatar to show its support for WHO and the Conference on Dementia. The intervention read: “The incidence of Dementia is rising at an alarming rate, most notably in lower and middle income countries, which account for the majority of new cases. Recognizing this, Qatar was pleased to welcome some of the world’s leading Dementia experts, many of whom are in this room, to Doha last month as part of the community of leaders convened by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH).”

Qatar whole heartedly embraces the aspirations of this first WHO Ministerial Conference on global action against Dementia. We applaud the WHO for convening this meeting, along with the support of the UK Department of Health and the leadership exercised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in this urgent matter.”

Participants at the WHO conference signed a call for action against dementia. The document has called for the following actions:

  • Raising the priority accorded to global action against dementia on the agendas of relevant high-level forums and meetings of national and international leaders;
  • strengthening capacity, leadership, governance, and partnerships to accelerate re-sponses to address dementia;
  • facilitating the coordinated delivery of health and social care for persons with de-mentia;
  • advancing prevention, risk reduction, diagnosis and treatment of dementia, con-sistent with current and emerging evidence;
  • facilitating technological and social innovations to meet the needs of people with dementia and their caregivers;
  • promoting a better understanding of dementia, raising public awareness and en-gagement; and
  • increasing collective efforts in dementia research.

Dr Shekhar Saxena, Director, Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, WHO, and Mental Health Forum Co-chair, WISH, said: “Dementia is a burden and overwhelming not only for the individual who has dementia, but also for their caregivers, families and society as a whole. There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigmatisation and barriers to diagnosis and care.”

No treatments are currently available to cure or even alter the progressive course of dementia, although many new therapies are being investigated in various stages of clinical trials. There is, however, much that can be offered immediately to support and improve the lives of people with dementia and their caregivers and families.”

Engineer Saad Al Muhannadi, President of Qatar Foundation, said: “The social and economic burden of dementia is clear and our WISH report, published just last month, acts as a timely precursor to the urgency demonstrated at this week’s WHO meeting. Through our research, Qatar Foundation continues to lead the way in healthcare innovation, offering evidence-based, actionable recommendations to health ministers and policymakers globally so that we may all work together to reduce the prevalence and burden of this disease.”

During the conference, Mr Egbert Schillings, CEO of WISH, met H.E. Mr Faisal Abdulla Al-Henzab, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the UN, Geneva, and presented the WISH 2015 Dementia report.

Mr Schillings said: “We are faced with a disease that is set to double every 20 years and yet there is no cure, no action plan and no sign of the rampant growth in diagnosis abating. This week’s meeting is less a cry for help and more a call to arms, because only by combining our efforts and sharing our victories will we succeed in moving the needle on this chronic social and economic challenge. I hope through our research at WISH, we promote a greater understanding that is needed to tackle this truly global disease.”

For more information about WISH and to read our report recommendations for tackling Dementia click here 


Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact:
Noha El Afify
WISH Communications Manager

About the World Innovation Summit for Health:

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) is a global healthcare community dedicated to capturing and disseminating the best evidence-based ideas and practices. WISH is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, its Chairperson.
The inaugural WISH Summit took place in Doha in 2013 and convened more than 1,000 global healthcare leaders. Through international summits and a range of ongoing initiatives, WISH is creating a global community of leading innovators in healthcare policy, research and industry.

Together, they are harnessing the power of innovation to overcome the world’s most urgent healthcare challenges and inspire other stakeholders to action.

Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a private, non-profit organisation that is supporting Qatar on its journey from a carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential for the benefit of not only Qatar, but the world. QF was co-founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir of Qatar, and Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

QF carries out its mission through three strategic pillars: education, science and research, and community development. QF’s education pillar brings world-class universities to Qatar to help create an education sector in which young people can develop the attitudes and skills required for a knowledge economy. Meanwhile, its science and research pillar builds Qatar’s innovation and technology capacity by developing and commercialising solutions through key sciences. Finally, its community development pillar helps foster a progressive society while also enhancing cultural life, protecting Qatar’s heritage and addressing immediate social needs in the community.

For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, visit 
For more information about Qatar Foundation please contact our press office at:

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