Data predictions by the Lancet Public Health project show that at least 1.4 million Nigerians will have dementia by 2050.
In a report released on Thursday, the Lancet noted that “global dementia cases set to triple by 2050 unless countries address risk factors.”
Nigeria is estimated to have 1,462,514 cases by 2050 under the country-level data spreadsheet.
“By 2050, 153 million people are expected to be living with dementia worldwide, up from 57 million in 2019, largely due to population growth and population ageing,” the report added.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has travelled to London hospital to treat an undisclosed ailment. Mr Buhari’s critics believe he has dementia.
“Anyone who wants to believe that Buhari has no dementia and that he is the picture of perfect mental and cognitive health because he didn’t drool during a choreographed PR show called an interview is free to do so,” stated Farooq Kperogi, a professor at Kennesaw State University.
He added, “But it takes nothing from the truth of his progressive mental degeneration and his unfitness to be president of a complex, developing country like Nigeria with no solid institutions to withstand a dementia-plagued president.”
In Nigeria, a study looking at the period between 1995 to 2015 pegged the prevalence rate of the brain disease at 4.9 per cent.
In December 2020, Peoples Gazette reported that Chief Justice of Nigeria Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad was enduring a torrid battle with dementia and heart disease complications, based on the testimony of highly competent Supreme Court sources familiar with his deteriorating condition.
The document covered and predicted dementia prevalence in 195 countries and territories, analysing the impact of expected trends in exposure to four important risk factors—smoking, obesity, high blood sugar, and low education.
The forecast states that though dementia cases will rise in every country, the highest increases will be in North Africa and the Middle East, with a 367 per cent rise in cases and a 357 per cent increase in eastern sub-Saharan Africa. It notes the smallest increase in cases in the high-income Asia Pacific at 53 per cent and western Europe with 74 per cent.
Countries with the highest percentage change in the total number of dementia cases between 2019 and 2050 include Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, the Maldives, Jordan, and Equatorial Guinea.
Countries with the lowest percentage change in the total number of dementia cases in the same review period include Japan, Bulgaria, Serbia, Lithuania, Greece, Latvia, Croatia, Ukraine, Italy and Finland.
Contributors to the report added that while improved access to education could lead to 6 million fewer cases of dementia worldwide by 2050, it could be thrown off by the projected 7 million additional dementia cases linked to projected rates of obesity, high blood sugar, and smoking.
The experts encouraged aggressive prevention efforts to reduce dementia risk through lifestyle factors, such as education, diet, and exercise, and by expanding much-needed health and social care resources.
More vulnerable populations to the disease include people aged 40 years and above and women, as “Globally, more women are affected by dementia than men.”
The report noted previous studies made in 2019, which revealed women with dementia outnumbering men with dementia 100 women to 69 men.
The study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gates Ventures, states that dementia currently is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally.