Editorial

Dementia in rural South Africa: A pressing need for epidemiological studies

Celeste A de Jager, John Anton Joska, Margaret Hoffman, Karen E Borochowitz, Marc Irwin Combrinck

Abstract


Dementia is one of the biggest challenges to society today, with an increasing prevalence as the global population ages. The 2013 worldwide estimate was 44 million persons with dementia, with predictions that about 70% of new cases will occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). With negligible published prevalence data for South Africa, little is known about the impact of dementia, especially in poorer communities. Successful community dementia prevalence screening has been conducted in ten LMICs worldwide, using a one-step diagnostic procedure developed in the UK by the 10/66 group. The prevalence of dementia needs to be established locally across various communities. Awareness, education, training and skilled resources for diagnosis and care are minimal. Only once prevalence data and an assessment of care needs are available will it be possible to propose improving health services for the growing aged population, especially those with dementia in poorer rural communities. 


Authors' affiliations

Celeste A de Jager, Divisions of Geriatric Medicine and Neurology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

John Anton Joska, Division of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Margaret Hoffman, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Karen E Borochowitz, Dementia SA, Cape Town, South Africa

Marc Irwin Combrinck, Divisions of Geriatric Medicine and Neurology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

Dementia; Cognitive; Prevalence; Alzheimer’s disease; Screening; LMICs; Older adults; South Africa; NCDS; Healthcare; 10/66 group

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(3):189-190. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.8904

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-09-10
Date published: 2015-01-31

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