Authored article

The world-wide challenge of dementia

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Jeremy Hunt talks about using the G8 summit on dementia to seek further international collaboration.

It is no secret that dementia is one of the most pressing challenges the UK is facing. Currently there are 670,000 people diagnosed with the condition in this country alone, and this number is set to double over the next 30 years.

However, dementia is far from a uniquely British problem – it is a world-wide challenge. Similar problems and pressures are being played out across the world for families, patients and governments as they work hard to respond to the sometimes significant demands of this growing condition.

Globally, someone is diagnosed with dementia every 4 seconds and it costs more than US$650billion a year. Right now there are 35.6 million people worldwide living with dementia, but with the world’s population ageing the World Health Organisation estimates that number will nearly double every 20 years, to an estimated 65.7 million in 2030, and 115.4 million in 2050.

Given the scale of the challenge dementia poses for every country, we cannot afford to ignore the potential of an effective international approach to dealing with this pressing issue.

This is why we are putting the fight against dementia on the world map, by using the UK’s presidency of the G8 to host the first summit dedicated to seeking a new level of international collaboration.

We have a real opportunity to work together to shape an international effort that can reach shared goals faster than individual nations acting alone.

The UK has already begun a national programme of action through the PM’s Challenge on Dementia launched in 2011. Now we hope the G8 nations can use this unique chance to come together to look at what we can do to help our own citizens and to join together so the rest of the world can best tackle this truly global challenge.

We have to come together to tackle this health and care time bomb. Only by focusing on what we can do by working together - to share expertise, resources and ideas - can we begin to make real improvements and really make a difference.