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Heinz K. Becker MEP (Austria)

MEPs speak out on dementia

AE:From a policy maker’s perspective, why do you think it is important to bring the challenge of Alzheimer’s disease to the front and centre of European Parliament and what could be done to meet this public health challenge?

HKB: How to bring Alzheimer’s disease to the front of European Parliament’s work.

Following the efforts of the Slovakian EU-Presidency as well as Netherland’s presidency, it is tremendously important to deliver strong signals to the Maltese Presidency to keep dementia and in particular Alzheimer`s disease at the top of Europe’s health agenda. At the same time it is important to continuously remind the Commission not to slow down in realizing their ambitious objectives, described in the Commission’s Communication on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, adopted in 2009.

As one of the most widespread forms of dementia, Alzheimer`s disease is also one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases - causing tremendous problems to millions of Europeans and enormous costs to the EU-health systems. To date, no curative treatment exists and access to services, treatment and support is still unequal between the EU member states. It is evident that a European strategy on Alzheimer`s disease is desperately needed.

The current situation does not only lead to severe difficulties in the person with dementia’s life, but also in the indispensable work of their formal and informal carers, friends and relatives. We cannot stand by any longer whilst this situation remains unchanged.

A European strategy on Alzheimer`s disease should focus on EU-wide cooperation on research on the root cause of Alzheimer`s disease as well as ways of early diagnosis of Alzheimer`s disease and other forms of dementia. Furthermore, the free and direct access to any form of necessary health care for European citizens with Alzheimer`s disease as well as professional support for their informal carers must be secured for everybody.

By showing patients respect and dignity as well as decreasing fear and stigma associated with the disease, we can increase their level of participation in society and a higher level of independence as well as streamline the public healthcare spending.



Last Updated: Thursday 07 September 2017