The General Assembly of the United Nations today concluded the first ever high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and formally recognized Alzheimer's disease as an important cause of death across the globe in the meeting's political declaration. In June, Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.), co-chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Alzheimer's Taskforce, along with 26 other Taskforce members, wrote a letter to UN President Joseph Deiss urging him to include Alzheimer's disease in discussions at the high-level meeting of United Nations summit on NCDs. The declaration formally adopted today acknowledged the need for countries to provide programs to address the growing health crisis caused by the disease.
"Today's recognition by the UN of Alzheimer's disease on the global stage is a call to action for nations to prepare for the inevitable increase in Alzheimer's patients worldwide," said Rep. Markey. "With governments around the globe facing aging populations, the public health and fiscal concerns surrounding Alzheimer's disease can no longer be ignored. As a planet, we must think creatively of ways to support caregivers, fund long-term health programs, and provide quality care for the elderly. I applaud the UN's work to give Alzheimer's disease the recognition it deserves on the international level."
"The UN's recognition today of Alzheimer's disease should be commended for calling attention to this terrible disease and the enormous health and financial burden that it places on populations around the world," said Rep. Smith. "On June 23, I chaired the first congressional hearing on the global crisis of Alzheimer's, and was provided testimony that there are 35.6 million individuals living with Alzheimer's and other dementias worldwide, a number expected to grow to over 115 million by mid-century. It is critical that worldwide efforts are mounted to care for those suffering from Alzheimer's and to find a cure."
The UN declaration reads: "Recognize that mental and neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, are an important cause of morbidity and contribute to the global NCD burden for which there is a need to provide equitable access to effective programmes and health care interventions."
The two-day UN summit, held by President of the General Assembly of the UN, Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, World Health Organization Director-General, Margaret Chan as well as 35 Heads of State and Government, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, focused on the social and economic impacts of some the leading non-infectious diseases worldwide, particularly for developing countries.