Prevalence and economic burden of dementia in the Arab world

Tarik Qassem, Lynn Itani, Walid Nasr, Dania Al-Ayyat, Syed Fahad Javaid, Hamed Al-Sinawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background The growing prevalence of dementia is a global concern, especially in the Arab world, where updated economic impact data are scarce. Understanding its prevalence and cost is crucial for effective policies and support systems. Aims To estimate dementia prevalence and cost in Arab countries for 2021. Method United Nations population data and dementia prevalence estimates were used to calculate total cases. Direct costs were based on gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (purchasing power parity) and income classification. Indirect caregiver support costs were estimated using average monthly wages and two distinct scenarios. Results The highest dementia prevalence among those aged more than 60 years was in Lebanon (4.88%), Tunisia (4.43%) and Algeria (4.19%). The total direct cost in the Arab region was $8.18 billion for those over 50 years old. Indirect costs ranged from $2.25 billion (best case) to $5.67 billion (worst case), with a mean value of $3.98 billion. Total dementia care costs (direct and indirect) under the mean scenario for the entire Arab world amounted to $12.17 billion, with costs as a percentage of GDP ranging from 0.05% (Sudan) to 0.44% (Lebanon). Conclusions This study highlights dementia as a growing public health issue in the Arab world, with 1 329 729 individuals affected in 2021 and total costs between $10.43 billion and $13.90 billion. The findings emphasise the urgent need for investment in research and specialised services for older adults, particularly those with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere126
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 13 2023


  • Arab world
  • Dementia
  • economic burden
  • healthcare costs
  • primary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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