By Isaac Philip
Qatar has carried out more than 70% of the National Dementia Plan, according to Dr Hanadi al-Hamad, the National Health Strategy lead for Healthy Ageing and medical director of Qatar Rehabilitation Institute at Hamad Medical Corporation ( HMC).
She told local Arabic daily Arrayah that the Qatar National Dementia Plan has seven priorities including increasing awareness, focus on research, support of families and relatives, and early diagnosis which could be achieved by increasing the number of clinics at HMC and the Primary Health Care Corporation.
A plan will be carried out by the end of this year to create a database of those who are afflicted with dementia in Qatar, Dr al-Hamad pointed out. The objective is to provide necessary support and services for the target group.
She explained that dementia is not a curable disease but the factors leading to it can be lessened by controlling the levels of blood pressure and blood sugar, stopping smoking, control over body fats, good nutrition, and maintaining an active life.
There are different types of dementia diseases and the major one is Alzheimer's. There are also other major causes for dementia including brain stroke and Parkinson's and all of these are considered chronic diseases and last for life.
Dr al-Hamad said HMC has provided many services to Alzheimer's disease patients including Raha, the National Alzheimer's and Memory Services Helpline, which receives calls from patients and their families to give them the necessary psychological support and to answer their questions. The service was launched during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is also another hotline to receive calls of older people in general, in addition to medicine delivery services. The number of specialised clinics at HMC has been increased and is available on a daily basis. Some cases can now be received at Al Rumailah hospital during the daytime.
Those who want support on how to care for their relatives who have dementia can contact Raha helpline on 40262222 from 8am to 3pm from Sunday to Thursday. The helpline has received more than 800 calls since it was launched in the middle of June, this year.
"The Raha helpline gives necessary advice and guarantees privacy and confidentiality of the information shared," Dr al-Hamad added.