Discours de Lydia Mutsch à l'occasion de la réunion ministérielle "Démence" à Génève

"We all share a common ambition: dementia must be put – and remain - high on the political agenda"

Discours – Publié le

"Dear ministers,

Dear colleagues,

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

  • First of all, I would like to thank my honorable colleague Alain Berset and his team for having organized this important side event.
  • It is a great honour for me to participate to this panel composed of so many important decision makers in the field of dementia.
  • The high level of attendance form the different WHO regions shows the political importance of dementia.
  • We all share a common ambition: dementia must be put – and remain - high on the political agenda.
  • As you might know, dementia is of particular importance to Luxembourg.
  • Not only is dementia one of the main national priorities. It was also one of our political priorities during the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union last year.
  • We indeed held a ministerial exchange on the topic during the informal meeting of the EU health ministers in September 2015 to which the WHO participated, as well as the Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis.
  • Starting from the finding that over half of the Member States of the EU have national plans on dementia in place but that there is no common or coherent approach, we thought it might be a good moment to invite Ministers of health to discuss priorities of future collaboration among Member States and the need of further action on EU level.
  • The fact that the WHO had organized a ministerial Conference on dementia organized just a few months prior to the start of our Presidency helped to put the topic on our agenda.
  • A particular focus was put on early diagnosis and post-diagnostic support of dementia which are also the main priorities of our national dementia plan adopted in 2013.
  • The outcome of this ministerial meeting was unanimous: the health ministers clearly supported the added value of an enhanced cooperation on dementia.
  • Exchange of best practices and of data,
  • the role of early diagnosis, of secondary prevention but also of innovative health technologies,
  • destigmatisation,
  • patient-centredness
  • the promotion of research,
  • the development of care at home and
  • better training of the care givers

– all these topics were highlighted as areas where cooperation can make a difference.

  • The commissioner for health assured us that the Commission will support Member States in their national efforts, especially in order to achieve an integrated vision on what needs to be done to tackle dementia. We sincerely hope that the new joint action on chronic diseases that will soon by launched by the European Commission will enable us to provide concrete answers and to achieve this ambitious target.
  • The representative from WHO also stressed the need for collaborative approaches on a global level.
  • All these common messages were integrated in the Council Conclusions that were unanimously adopted by the health ministers at the final Council in December.
  • And I am glad that the Netherlands who assure the EU Presidency have taken up this topic as a political priority thus ensuring a continued debate.
  • I am also pleased to see that the content of the Luxembourg Presidency Conclusions is perfectly reflected in the Resolution on Healthy Ageing that is submitted to this World Health Assembly.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

  • Dementia is not only a challenge in Europe. We shouldn’t forget that also low and middle-income countries are faced with the burden of this disease
  • We therefore need a global and coherent approach.
  • In other words: we need the WHO to put forward a comprehensive global action plan in order to reach out to all Member States worldwide.
  • I can therefore only express my firm support in favour of a formal follow up to be ensured by the Executive Board in the months to come.
  • Let’s not lose the momentum and the chance to actively work on a new approach towards dementia care.
  • By pursuing a patient-centered and -driven approach, rather than an approach where the role of the patient is limited to receiving support from family and care giverss, we can set the ground for an important paradigm shift in dementia care in the interest of the people living with dementia and in the interest of our health systems.
  • Thank you for your attention."