The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is to lead a £7.9 million project to build research capacity and provide much-needed evidence on dementia care in seven low- and middle-income countries. This work will support the development of national policies for dementia in the face of rapidly growing global numbers of people with the condition.
Funding has been awarded by the Research Council UK (RCUK) through its Global Research Challenges Fund, which aims to ensure that UK research takes a leading role in addressing challenges faced by developing countries. The research is led by the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at LSE, in partnership with the Universities of Sussex and Cape Town, Alzheimer’s Disease International and Dementia Alliance International. The project - called STRiDE (Strengthening responses to dementia in developing countries) - will help to improve dementia care, treatment and support in seven countries, including India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and South Africa. It will do so by strengthening capacity in those countries to develop and sustain effective care and support for people with dementia and their families.
The project will examine current practice, both at a national level and for individual families, both to help people living with dementia to live well, and to ensure that family and other carers do not face excessive costs that could impoverish them or compromise their own health. A core activity will be to understand the impacts of dementia in various cultural, social and economic contexts in order to support development, financing, planning, implementation and evaluation of National Dementia Plans.
Professor Martin Knapp, Director of PSSRU at LSE, said: “Dementia affects more people in low- and middle-income countries than it does in the UK or other high-income countries, yet few countries are prepared for the challenges of the growing number of people with dementia. Our project is ambitious, but it is urgently needed. We aim to provide research-based support to enable low- and middle-income countries to provide truly effective support for people with dementia as well as the wider community.”
Kate Swaffer, Chair and CEO of Dementia Alliance International, said: “The STRiDE project will build capacity for research for dementia in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It will also generate new research evidence on the economic case for investing in better dementia care, and support the development of national dementia plans across a range of countries. Following the recent adoption of the WHO Global Action Plan for Dementia, this is imperative, as national strategies and better investment in research and care is needed in all countries, but this is especially so in the LMICs.”
Paola Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International, said: "The STRiDE project will give a deeper insight into each nation's economic challenges related to public health and dementia. This will better prepare us for the negotiating challenges ahead.”
Dame Minouche Shafik, LSE Director, said: “The number of people living with dementia is growing, creating a challenge with which many countries in the developing world are ill-equipped to cope. This funding will enable researchers and Alzheimer’s organisations to collaborate in order to understand what is working, and what isn’t, in order to improve dementia care where it is most needed.”
STRiDE will run for 51 months from 1 October 2017. The study’s website will launch in October at www.stride-dementia.org.