DESK REVIEWS | 04.08.01. What changes in policy in relation to dementia are expected in the next five years?

DESK REVIEW | 04.08.01. What changes in policy in relation to dementia are expected in the next five years?

Brazil’s last presidential election was in October 2018 and the new government started its activities in January 2019. As many changes are still taking place in this new government, it is difficult to predict potential dementia policy changes over the next years. We are aware that a new department was created this year in the Ministry of Health (Secretaria de Atenção Primária) and dementia is one of their priorities. Prof. Cleusa Ferri has been invited to go to Brasilia to talk to the Secretary of that Secretariat.

There are certain activities that may influence policy for dementia in the future. The ARDSI has submitted a draft strategy report in 2018 which provides an overview of targets and activities that are needed in a national dementia policy (ARDSI, 2018). This is available to view online at:

More recently, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, NITI-Aayog and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) have launched the Karnataka Brain Health Initiative (KBHI) (KBHI, 2022). KBHI aims to address neurological disease burden (including dementia) through using evidence-based tools/protocols to diagnose and manage dementia and includes training of primary health care physicians to reduce delays in diagnosis and facilitate timely treatment (Alladi, 2022; KBHI, 2022).


Alladi. S (2022). Primary Health Care doctors training by neurologists. Twitter. Available from:

Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India.  (2018). Dementia India Strategy Report. Alzheimer Disease International. Available from:

Karnataka Brain Health Initiative (2022). Forum for Karnataka Brain Health Initiative. National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. Available from:

Currently, the Ministry of Health, facilitated by Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation and ADOK is developing  a National dementia Plan with funding from the STRiDE project and London School of Economics (London School of Economics (LSE), 2018; C. Musyimi et al., 2019).  This is expected to increase awareness on dementia in community settings through evidence-based tools. Furthermore, members of the project work towards making dementia care a priority at policy level. The expected knowledge increase around dementia care is likely to result in a rise in the number of people receiving a timely diagnosis and adequate care and support for people with dementia and their carers. The aim of STRiDE is to build capacity to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of national strategies to deliver appropriate, equitable, effective, and affordable dementia care. STRiDE will support the development of a National Dementia Plan by offering recommendations based on a thorough situational analysis and other scientific results from the project. Following these changes, it can be expected that through future funding, guidelines, and protocols, dementia care in Kenya in future will be addressing the needs of people living with dementia, their families and those of health and long-term care professionals.

HelpAge International is also taking the lead in collaboration with Ministry of Health to develop a community care package – training manual for the care of older people in Kenya. It is expected that this manual will cover issues around dementia since it is intended to cover non-communicable diseases including mental illness (HelpAge International, 2019). Discussions around development of healthy ageing strategy are underway through the same partnership. This could result in dementia awareness and addressing risk factors related to dementia within community settings.  Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation (AMHRTF) and ADOK are part of the team involved in the development of this manual.


HelpAge International. (2019). Terms of Reference for Development of Home Based Care (HBC)/Community care Package – Training Manual for the care of Older People in Kenya and Mozambique.

London School of Economics (LSE). (2018). Strengthening Responses to Dementia in Developing Countries (STRiDE).

Musyimi, C., Mutunga, E., & Ndetei, D. (2019). Stigma and dementia care in Kenya: Strengthening Responses to Dementia in Developing Countries (STRiDE) Project. In World Alzheimer Report 2019: Attitudes to dementia (pp. 121–122). London, UK: Alzheimer’s Disease International.


The new government administration is in its first year, when all the national plans and programs are generated. It is hoped that dementia is at least included as a priority in the Specific Action Program: Aging Care 2019-2024.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has submitted their recommendations (SAHRC, 2017b) on the Older Persons Amendment Bill in June 2017 (Older Persons Act: Older Persons Amendment Bill, 2017: Comments Invited, 2017). These recommendations include revisions, for example, of (1) definitions, (2) registration clauses added with regards to assisted living facilities, and (3) registration of caregivers to be supervised by a registered nurse. Recommendations for policy changes are related to protecting the rights and care of older persons in general and not dementia-specific. Based on this review, it is unclear if these recommendations have been accepted and if there are expected changes to policies related to the care of older persons (and dementia) in the next 5 years.


Older Persons Act: Older Persons Amendment Bill, 2017: Comments invited, 1 (2017).

SAHRC. (2017b). South African Human Rights Commission Older Persons Amendment Bill. Available from: