Canada showing international leadership at G8 Dementia Summit

Categories: Policy.

The Summit brought together health ministers from G8 countries to discuss how they can better coordinate efforts and shape an international approach to addressing this important public health issue.

“Canada is a leader in the area of dementia research. Our Government is committed to taking further action to address the growing problem of dementia,” said Minister Ambrose. “By working with like-minded countries we can harness the best research, innovation and partnerships to help prevent or delay the on-set of dementia; and improve the quality of life, care and treatment of those affected and their families.”

The risk of developing dementia increases with age. By 2030, the number of Canadians over the age of 65 is expected to rise to more than 20 per cent of the population, which means we could face a proportionate rise in dementia-related illnesses. Many countries around the world face similar situations.

The Minister’s statement to the plenary reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to working with G8 countries to address dementia and highlighted some of the federal government’s actions that can contribute to coordinated efforts.

In the 2013 Speech from the Throne, Canada pledged to renew its investments in health-related research that will tackle the growing onset of dementia and related illnesses.

Ongoing federal efforts include:

  • Investing in research on neurological conditions such as dementia and related illnesses to better understand what causes these conditions.
  • Developing partnerships with the private sector to support transformative research on Alzheimer’s disease — e.g., Canada Brain Research Fund project with the Chagnon Family of Quebec, one of the largest investments in Alzheimer’s prevention ever made in this country.
  • Using surveillance and analysis to measure the impact of conditions such as dementia on Canadians and the healthcare system to identify needs.
  • Sharing knowledge with partners in Canada and internationally.
  • Supporting initiatives to increase the range of care settings and a greater variety of care providers for palliative and end-of-life care for those living with dementia and related illnesses.

“We were pleased to work alongside the Government of Canada at the G8 Summit,” said Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “Dementia remains a critical and important issue, and we will continue to work with this government on next steps.”

Following the day’s discussions, the G8 Ministers released a Declaration that acknowledges the need for countries to work together to respond to the significant human and economic burdens of dementia. The Declaration also outlines twelve commitments to which G8 countries have agreed — including holding four workshops in 2014.

“I am proud that Canada and France will co-host a global legacy workshop on dementia in Canada in 2014,” said Minister Ambrose.

The Summit also provided the opportunity for the Minister to meet with Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization — and with health ministers/secretaries from other countries including Honourable Jeremy Hunt, UK Secretary of State for Health and host of the Summit — to discuss health issues such as mental health and violence prevention, and opportunities for working together in the future.

The Group of Eight (G8) is a forum for the leaders of eight of the world’s most industrialized nations, aimed at finding common ground on key topics and solutions to global issues. The G8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States and the European Union. The UK holds the presidency for 2013.

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