Swedish Queen visits AIIMS to understand treatment care provided to dementia patients

New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI) Queen Silvia of Sweden visited AIIMS here on Tuesday and interacted with the faculty to understand the treatment practices and care provided by the premier health institute to patients with dementia.

The queen, who is visiting India with Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, along with her delegates also participated in a discussion on 'Quality of life for people with dementia' organised by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Dementia is a condition in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. Although it mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of ageing.

According to an AIIMS official, the Sweden Embassy contacted AIIMS through health ministry and had sought to understand care-giving system and rehabilitation programmes for such patients.

This is Sweden-India Year of Health and both the countries are celebrating 10 years of cooperation on healthcare, an official said.

'We are grateful to the Queen of Sweden for visiting AIIMS. Dementia is close to her heart as she has seen her mother suffering from it. During interaction with her, we learned about her deep involvement in the care of the elderly and her longstanding commitment to healthy aging, her participation in training nurses, and other healthcare providers in dementia management through her foundation Silviahemmet,' AIIMS-Delhi Finance Director Randeep Guleria said.

A Memorandum of Intent (MoI) has been signed between Sweden, AIIMS, New Delhi and AIIMS, Jodhpur to set up a healthcare innovation centre to promote research, broadly in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and help scale-up Indian start-ups in the sector, Guleria said.

The queen also interacted with some of the patients and a group of multi-disciplinary doctors presented a live demo about diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of such patients.

Professor of Geriatrics at AIIMS, Dr Prasoon Chatterjee said relevance of dementia in India is increasing day-by-day considering the humongous growth in elderly population in the last decade.

According to a 2015 government data, around 4.4 million people suffer from dementia in India and according to the 2016 data, cost of dementia care in India is around Rs 23,000 crore which is expected to double by 2030.

'Due to lack of awareness and social stigma associated with the disease, patients seek medical help at a later stage when nothing much can be done. Further qualified manpower and dedicated dementia care centres is scanty in the country,' he said.

The queen was accompanied by the Dean of the Karolinska Institute, representatives from Stiftelsen Silviahemmet Foundation and officials of the Sweden Health Ministry among others.

She also visited the Simulation, E-learning and Telemedicine (S.E.T.) facility at AIIMS, where she witnessed the demonstrations by AIIMS specialists on the various activities being carried out for the elderly care there.

The royal couple, on a five-day visit to India, is also scheduled to visit Mumbai and Uttarakhand.

This is King Gustaf's third visit to India. PTI PLB CK