Keynote address by Limpopo MEC for Health and Social Development, Mme Dikeledi Magadzi at the World Alzheimer’s Day at Bakenburg
21 Sep 2011
Executive Mayor of Waterberg District Municipality
Magoshi a rena
Mayor of Mogalakwena
Representatives from the National Department
Batsofadi ba rena
Representatives of Bokamoso
District and Local councillors
Officials from our department and the municipalities
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Programme director, it is indeed my pleasure and privilege to commemorate with you the World Alzheimer’s Day.
Alzheimer appears to be one of the silent killers that is not commonly known but still dangerous. The disease was first diagnosed by a German physician Alois Alzheimer in 1906 which is 105 years ago. The day was only declared a World Day more than twenty years ago.
According to Alois Alzheimer, the disease affects brain especially of elderly people in most cases across the racial borders, with its common symptoms being:
- loss of memory
- difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying
- difficulty in performing previously routine tasks
- personality and mood changes.
Currently over 18million people suffer from Alzheimer worldwide, in South Africa one in ten people aged between 65 and 85 is suffering from the disease and statistics shows that over 400 000 people had the disease in our country.
Programme director, I am personally touched by the disease because even my mother died of it years ago. As I am standing here I feel that all people should know about the disease to ensure that what happened to the people suffering from the disease in the past should not repeat itself.
You are all well aware that in the past people with the above-mentioned symptoms were and are still called by names and in some instances they were accused of witchcraft and were killed as a result.
Unfortunately what causes the disease is unknown, but what happen is that the brain has a disease that makes it become smaller and smaller.
People suffering from Alzheimer then start to change in that they become very forgetful. They lose things and then do not know where to find them, or they get lost, forget to bath or change their clothes and may accuse people of stealing from them or accuse their partners of being unfaithful.
There are people with similar behaviour in your communities, this means that from today that you know about the disease you will no longer accuse them or call them by names.
To show that the disease cut across the colour, rich and poor, even former President of the United States the late Ronald Reagan suffered from the disease.
We are aware that in some instances people suffering from Alzheimer are discriminated by their own families, relatives and community at large.
For those patients to feel more accepted as the community you must talk to them like normal people, be patient with them, use familiar words and keep your voice down.
It is a fact that there is no specific cure for the disease, but as a department we will continue to provide medication to treat some symptoms and medicines that help to such person to be calmer.
Like Minister Motsoaledi highlighted during the Non Communicable Diseases Summit in Boksburg last week that eating more salt and sugar, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking and unbalanced diet including abuse of alcohol contribute to Non Communicable Diseases. You can stay healthy by avoiding too much salt, regular exercise, stop smoking, and eating at least one fruit and vegetable per day.
As mothers, fathers, grandmothers and father we are calling on you to encourage your children and grandchildren to breast feed their children.
As we commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day let us put our elderly people first, give them the support they need from us. Alzheimer, like other chronic Non Communicable Diseases is receiving a serious attention from the department and we are calling on community members to assist us by identifying the patients from early stage in order for us to provide necessary medication.
Ka Sepedi bare: “Mahlaku a maswa a ithekga ka a matala” Diputswa tse ke bohwa bja rena a re pheleng botse le bona. A re direng gore letsatsi le lengwe le le lengwe e be letsatsi la batsofadi.
Let us all commemorate the World Alzheimer’s Day.
I thank you.
Issued by: Limpopo Health and Social Development
21 Sep 2011
[ Top ]