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Stigma adding to dementia burden

“There is a lot of stigma surrounding the disease and most people think that one is bewitched or they have annoyed the gods and they are being punished by being unwell,” said Elizabeth Mutunga, who founded the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Organisation of Kenya (Adok) in memory of her father.

Patients with dementia experience memory loss, personality changes and impaired reasoning. Alzheimer’s is the common type of dementia.

Dr Simon Njuguna, a mental health director at the Health ministry, says the rising numbers of Kenyans with the disease poses double burden to the elderly who are also getting non-communicable ailments such as cancer and diabetes. ‘’Dementia has huge financial, emotional and social cost. It affects the productivity of an individual,’’ he said during the World Alzheimer’s Day two weeks ago. (September 21)

Unfortunately, there are no official statistics on the number of Kenyans suffering from dementia.

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