CDPC contributes to building an evidence base for Vietnam’s Dementia Plan

ageing population

Within the next 30 years it is estimated that Vietnam will have 2.4 million people living with dementia and as a response invited international dementia experts, including a team from the CDPC, who have just been awarded a combined NHMRC/NAFOSTED grant of $850,705 to contribute to Vietnam’s National Dementia Plan.

The grant, “Strengthening responses to dementia: Building an evidence platform for the development of a Vietnam National Dementia Plan” has joint funding of $499,805 from the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) and $350,900 from NAFOSTED (National Foundation for Science and Technology Development).

CDPC Professors Sue Kurrle, Maria Crotty and Craig Whitehead joined policy makers, health-care experts and key thought leaders at Vietnam’s first-ever national dementia conference in Hanoi on 7 September entitled, “Dementia as a public health priority – the need for the development of Vietnam’s national dementia plan”.

The conference and masterclass that followed shared knowledge and current best practice on dementia prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care with the goal of developing a National Dementia Plan in line with the World Health Organisation initiative to have plans for every country to meet the growing need of dementia diagnosis and care.

Dr Tuan Anh Nguyen, a NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow at the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, who was Chair of the Conference Scientific Committee and led the grant application, presented at both the conference and the masterclass on a CDPC project on the issues round medication use for people with dementia.

It was a great privilege, said CDPC Director Professor Kurrle, for us to contribute to Vietnam’s public health response to dementia.

“I congratulate Tuan for leading the NHMRC/NAFOSTED successful grant application that Maria and I will contribute to, particularly round the interpretation of the CDPC dementia clinical guidelines.

“At the conference we provided an overview of dementia services in Australia, our Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for people with Dementia and the latest evidence on dementia prevention and management.

“The CDPC collaborative model of research was presented as a practical example of how researchers, clinicians and people with dementia and carers can work together.

“The Guidelines are an example of this working together and have been translated into Vietnamese,” she said.

At the masterclass for leading Vietnamese geriatricians Professor Kurrle presented on physical symptoms and comorbidities of dementia and Professor Whitehead on methods and lessons in diagnosing dementia and Professor Crotty on dementia prevention.

Dr Nguyen said, at the masterclass “we worked together to provide training in dementia for 140 family physicians, geriatric nurses, geriatricians and neurologists across the country”.

Discussions among key stakeholders at the conference focused on identifying the priorities in dementia prevention and management as the first step of the development of Vietnam’s national dementia plan.

Vietnamese Vice Minister of Health, Prof Nguyen Viet Tien said dementia is a growing issue as the country’s population is close to 100 million and the average lifespan is now 74-75 years old. And as living standards increase, longevity also would increase, he said.

The conference was addressed by leading dementia health stakeholders - Professor Pham Thang, Director of National Geriatric Hospital of Vietnam, Prof Jean-Pierre Michel, Program Director of the International Society of Geriatric Oncology Federation of Geriatric Education and Mr Glenn Rees Chair Alzheimer’s Disease International.

The conference launched the executive board for the Vietnam Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics.

Clinical Guidelines for Dementia
Towards a dementia plan: a WHO guide
Article in Vietnamese publication

The following is a description of the NHMRC/NAFOSTED joint collaborative project grant, “Dementia as a public health priority – the need for the development of Vietnam’s national dementia plan”:
This project aims to understand Vietnam’s response to the emerging public health problem of dementia at three levels: individual, healthcare organisations, and national healthcare system and then to strengthen their responses. A desired outcome is to enable the development of a Vietnam National Dementia Plan – a coherent framework with political commitment and stakeholder engagement that enables effective use of resources to improve the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families.