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Barbados: DEMENTIA A MAJOR ISSUE, SAYS SENIOR MEDICAL OFFICER

There are an estimated 300 000 persons living in the Caribbean region who have dementia, and Barbados with its ageing population and high incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is no doubt counted in that figured.

Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arthur Phillips, spoke to this yesterday morning during a service at the St. Luke’s Anglican Church, where members of the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association joined the congregation there to commence a week of activities to mark World Alzheimer’s Day, which is September 21.

During his remarks, Dr. Phillips said that in 2010, the World Health Organisation estimated that there were 35 million people living with dementia, and that in a few years’ time, that number could double or even triple. Dr. Phillips added that there are estimates that suggest that worldwide, the level of dementia is between five and eight per cent for persons over the age of 60 years and approximately 14 per cent in individuals over the age of 90. He added that statistics from around the world indicate that Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are at present a significant issue, and are projected to increase over time if appropriate action is not taken.

“Our current best estimates are that seven million new cases of dementia are diagnosed each year, approximately one case of dementia every four seconds,” he stated.

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