An increase in global population ageing means that more people are at risk of developing dementia. According to the WHO worldwide, around 55 million people have dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year, with over 60% living in low- and middle income countries.
Due to low life expectancy, many African countries are not included in discussions about population ageing and more importantly, little attention is given to understanding cultural meanings ascribed to dementia which is becoming a growing health priority in less resourced countries.
In some African countries, the symptoms of dementia, which may lead to strange behaviour and memory dysfunction can be misunderstood and are sometimes associated with madness as well as superstitious beliefs. Fear and stigma leave those living with dementia and cognitive impairment extremely vulnerable.