The French lead the way on dementia

05 August, 2011
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has set a global precedent for government action on dementia.

In his keynote presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in France, in July, President Sarkozy spoke about the advances in dementia care, support and research in his country.

President Sarkozy has long been an advocate for increased funding for dementia. Since 2007, dementia has been a priority for France, and in 2008 the National Plan for Alzheimers and related diseases was released, which pledged over 1.6 billion Euros over 5 years.

In his speech, Sarkozy highlighted key priority areas of the National Plan: care, support and research. The French Plan envisions a system in which “no Alzheimer’s patient is ignored, no family is left without support, and no line of research is neglected”.

The Plan has already improved access to diagnosis, by creating 65 additional memory clinics, as reported in the June 2011 progress report. 444 hospital memory centres have been established across France, giving more patients access to accurate and timely diagnoses.

Dementia research was also given national priority, and in the Plan 200 million Euros was dedicated to research. By building a solid base of dementia researchers in France, they are making the commitment to finding effective treatments and preventative measures. Over 100 major research projects have already been funded.

The Plan has taken action to increase dementia awareness and improve quality dementia care and increase access to respite services for carers.

Although he acknowledges the country still has progress to make, the President highlighted improvements such as progress in research and an increase in residential aged care facilities, hospital units and home support teams.

The French President has called upon other governments to make Alzheimer’s a top health priority, and for international research collaborations to investigate the causes and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Resources:
AAIC coverage
The French National Plan for Alzheimer’s and related diseases
AAIC Speech 
June 2011 Progress Report