Dr. Amit Dias, coordinator of the medical and scientific advisory panel for dementia at the Alzheimer’s and Related Disoreders Society of India (ARDSI) . received the prestigious Fondation Médéric Alzheimer and Alzheimer Disease International award for the best evidence based research on interventions for people with dementia. He has received the award at a function held at the International Alzheimer’s conference in Greece on the 12th of March 2010. Dr. Dias is also the secretary of ARDSI- Goa Chapter (the Dementia Society of Goa) and lecturer at the Dept. of Preventive Medicine at the Goa Medical College Dr. Dias attributes the success of the project to the dedicated efforts of the whole team.
The project was carried out under the leadership of Prof. Vikram Patel, professor of International Mental Health, LSHTM. The Dementia Society of Goa, is an NGO dedicated to the cause of serving families of people with dementia. It was established in the year 2002 and is currently under the able leadership of Dr. Chicot Vas, Consultant neurologist Goa Medical College. Dr. Dias is the coordinator of the 10/66 Dementia research group in India which is involved in conducting epidemiological studies aimed at gathering the evidence to shape public health policies that would be sensitive to the needs of the rising numbers of people with dementia in India. He is also the coordinator of the medical and scientific advisory Panel for ARDSI. This is one of the first evidence based interventions in Asia on non pharmacological interventions for families of people with dementia.
The project showed that Home based support for caregivers of persons with dementia, which emphasizes the use of locally available human resources, is feasible, acceptable and leads to significant improvements in caregiver mental health and burden of caring and has an impact on the quality of life of the people with dementia.
Dr. Dias informed that the prize, which amounts to 18,000 euros will be utilized for further disseminating the findings of the study and training people in using this evidence based intervention. The award was given in recognition of the research project on evaluating the effectiveness of community interventions for families of people with dementia in Goa. The project was funded by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India.
The project was a Randomised Controlled Trial which evaluated the effectiveness of trained Community workers called Home Care Advisors, who would visit the homes of people with dementia and help the caregivers with non pharmacological means of looking after their family member with dementia. Medical care was also provided wherever necessary. The research findings are published in a peer reviewed scientific journal – PLOS One and is freely available on the website http://www.plosone.org
Dr. Amit Dias who is also part of the team that is developing the national strategy for dementia in India, said that dementia is a major public health priority in the elderly in view of the demographic transition in this country. Research in various parts of the country including Goa show that 3% of the elders above the age of 60 years have dementia. He informed that the draft national dementia strategy document will be presented to the Government of India by the end of this year. ARDSI believes that public health programmes for dementia should focus on community based interventions using the locally available resources as was done in this award winning project.
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Dr. Amit Dias, MD, DTM&H, DGM,
Silver Inning Foundation wishes Dr.Amit Dias and his Team Congratulation and hope their research will benefit people on ground.