Alzheimer’s Pakistan is entering into a collaboration with Alzheimer’s Australia WA for three to six years to work for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in both countries, said Patron Alzheimer’s Pakistan Dr. Yasmin Raashid, while talking to mediamen at a local hotel on Thursday.
Dr. Yasmin talked about Alzheimer’s Pakistan, which is a national organisation for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The main objective of this non-governmental organisation is to work for people suffering from this disease. "Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which affects memory, thinking process, behaviour and emotions. Alzheimer’s Pakistan is the first organisation to have initiated work on dementia-related syndromes, especially Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s Australia WA – the largest regional association of Australia – has offered to collaborate with Alzheimer’s Pakistan in developing programmes that support people with dementia," she said. "Alzheimer’s Australia WA has some 24 years of experience of working on people with dementia and is developing suitable programmes. They have offered to make experience available to Alzheimer’s Pakistan. Alzheimer’s Australia WA expects that its staff will benefit from this collaboration and learn about the problems associated with establishing programmes in the Pakistani community," said Dr. Yasmin.
The CEO Alzheimer’s Australia WA Frank Schaper said this would be a collaboration where both organisations would benefit and would learn from each others’ experiences for a period of three to six years. "Though this disease afflicts people above the age of 60, but in Australia the youngest case has been of a 37-year-old man. The number of Alzheimer’s patients is increasing. Drugs do help in hampering the deterioration. It requires almost 10 years to reveal its symptoms. Intensive studies are being done in Australia into the disease," he said.
The Alzheimer’s Pakistan is starting the first Day Care Centre for Alzheimer’s from August 15, 2005. This partnership will improve the services provided by Alzheimer’s Pakistan and support for the first Day Care Centre. Presently, one out of 1000 people are being affected by Alzheimer’s and its medication is pretty costly, which costs around Rs 10, 000 per month. It was also told that by 2025 there would be twice the number of people with dementia in the developed world as compared to 1980 while 1980 number would quadruple in the developing countries.
Earlier, Mr. Schaper and Dr. Yasmin Raashid had a meeting with the Minister of Health Punjab Dr. Tahir Ali Javed and discussed the options for a long term collaboration between the two countries. The Minister acknowledged the need to tackle the health problems associated with the old age, especially Alzheimer’s disease. He further said that like rest of the work, the average age of Pakistani population was also increasing and we needed to do something about this ageing population. It was decided in the meeting that the government was ready to start post-graduate training in geriatrics (old age medicine) and Alzheimer’s care services. In this regard, a formal Memorandum of Understanding would be signed between the two countries.
Mr. Schaper and the delegation of Alzheimer’s Pakistan will meet the Federal Health Minister Naseer Khan, WHO Chief in Pakistan and Australian High Commissioner in Pakistan today (Friday).