Inaugural International Dementia Academy Offered in Bangladesh

Dementia Academy Bangladesh group photo

Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, with nearly 60% living in low-middle income countries. In Bangladesh, with a population of 165 million, stigma and poor health literacy regarding dementia is widespread, and health and social care services to support people with dementia and their families are rare.

In 2021, we were awarded a grant from ESTHER Ireland—which fosters international partnerships between Irish health organisations and their counterparts overseas—to improve awareness and understanding of dementia amongst healthcare professionals in Bangladesh. This grant enabled us to develop, deliver and evaluate a dementia masterclass course—International Dementia Academy Bangladesh (IDAB)—for clinicians and other dementia professionals across the country.

The Academy, which was offered between August and December 2021, provided pragmatic lectures on epidemiology, diagnosis, management, care and support, and prevention. Course content was prepared and delivered by Atlantic Fellows at GBHI—including Yaohua Chen, Clara Domínguez Vivero, Sarah Fox, Irina Kinchin, Tomás León and Nicky Taylor—and other dementia professionals from around the world. Monthly lectures were followed by two-hour live case-based interactive sessions facilitated by international faculty. In addition, the 20 delegates were asked to prepare a proposal for a quality improvement project in dementia which they presented at a final day-long conference at the National Institute of Mental Health, Dhaka on December 8. Brian Lawlor, GBHI Deputy Executive Director, gave a welcome address at the conference and prizes were awarded to the best delegate presentations. 

The course was offered in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Bangladesh, with significant input from Azizul Haque, the society’s Founder and Secretary General, Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Lund University and was coordinated by Abhisweta Bhattacharjee, Project Coordinator at GBHI. The Academy was also supported by an advisory board of international and Bangladeshi dementia and health care experts.

It is extremely rewarding that, thanks to a further round of funding from ESTHER Ireland, we can build on the success of the inaugural Academy. This work will include the development of a caregiver training module and adapting the Academy for delegates in India, under the leadership of Dr Sridhar Vaitheswaran of the eminent Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) in Chennai. 

Course Details

The course outline can be viewed on the Neurology Academy website which hosted the learning platform and course operations.

Get in Touch

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