Afsluitende toespraak van minister Helder (VWS) bij de defeating dementia conferentie in Den Haag. Deze vond plaats op 2 oktober 2023.


Afsluitende toespraak van minister Helder (VWS) bij de defeating dementia conferentie in Den Haag. Deze vond plaats op 2 oktober 2023. Gesproken woord geldt

Verantwoordelijke Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport
Thema Ouderenzorg
Documentsoort Toespraak
Publicatiedatum 02-10-2023
Documentdatum 02-10-2023
Onderwerp Dementie

Ladies and gentlemen,

This morning, I started off with a question and a wish list.

I asked, ‘May I put a face and a name to these cold hard facts?’

And talked about how dementia can affect anyone.

Even young people.

Even the face in the mirror.

Dementia doesn’t look at race, age or gender.

Dementia doesn’t discriminate.

This morning I also presented an ambitious wish list.

It was an expression of my impatience when it comes to our efforts on dementia.

And the sense of urgency.

Our societies need us to step up the fight against dementia. That was my message.

Today we’ve shown that we all share these feelings.

The joint governmental statement we’ve adopted today reflects that sense of urgency.

I think we can say we’ve taken an important step in the fight against dementia.

For instance, on research.

The international cooperation within the EU Joint Programme for Neurodegenerative Disease Research is of great importance.

It will hopefully lead to high-quality, sustainable treatments and interventions.

To better dementia prevention and risk reduction.

And to improvements in the care and support for people with dementia.

Today we agreed that we will step up our efforts on this care and support.

High-quality dementia care is person-centred and focuses on quality of life.

That requires a joint investment, and it’s good that we’ve committed to doing that today.

I’m also pleased with the agreements on active, robust efforts to ensure people with dementia are seen as full members of society.

People who can make a contribution to society. And who can actively participate in society.

It sounds so straightforward and easy. But we all know that there’s still a world to be gained in this respect.

And today we’ve taken a big step towards making those gains.  

There is a major role to play for the international expert group we set up today.

Its task will be to act as a catalyst for the fight against dementia.

Ensuring that new initiatives are rewarded.

That best practices are shared.

And that the topic stays at the top of the agenda.

The expert group will work closely with the World Dementia Council and the World Health Organization.

With a focus on the G8’s goals and WHO’s Global action plan on the public health response to dementia.

I’d like to add something to this arsenal of measures.

Tackling dementia and caring for dementia patients is done by people.

Only with the dedication and passion of people, will we make advances.

So I propose that we institute an annual award.

A prize for an outstanding accomplishment in the field of dementia.

It could be an innovative approach, pioneering research, or an exceptional development in care and support for people with dementia.

This will allow us to shine a spotlight on these dedicated, hard-working people.

As host of this conference, the Netherlands is keen to work with the international expert group on elaborating the idea for an annual award.

Perhaps the Netherlands could play a leading role in flashing out the idea within the expert group. And then we could present the first award in – let’s say – a year’s time.

Today we’ve taken important strides in the fight against dementia.

But we haven’t reached our destination yet.

When later today we wish each other a safe trip home, it doesn’t mean our shared journey has come to an end.

It’s just means we’ve completed an important stage. And we’re ready to start the next.

To me, the fight against dementia is a marathon. Not a sprint.

Marathons requires courage, inspiration and resolve.

Today’s joint statement provides a solid foundation for that next stage.

Let’s cherish the results we’ve achieved here.

I’d like to invite the heads of delegation to join me here, so we can affirm the statement together.

To take a stand against dementia.