Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are the most commonly known, and perhaps the most prevalent, around the world. It is estimated by experts that as many as 24 million people worldwide are suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Like most countries, Africa is not spared from the onslaught of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. In Uganda alone, a study conducted by three scientists in the Mbarara University found that the disease has a 20% prevalence in the country.
In other words, the study said, 80 out of 400 people who are aged 60 years and older were found to be suffering from dementia in varying stages. At some point in their lives, as the disease progresses, they will need health assistance from caregivers to maintain quality of life.
The study was made to follow through with a report by the Alzheimer’s Disease International claiming that as much 7.2% of people of the same age group as the Mbarara University’s sample group are positive for dementia in sub-Saharan Africa.
African families must be able to access information about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia so they can adequately prepare for caring for their elderly relatives when the time comes. Health care services in Africa are always available, but it is also the family’s responsibility to provide care to the patient with dementia.