As part of the World Alzheimer’s Day 2009 public awareness initiatives, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan in collaboration with the Memory Clinic, NIMS, organized a Memory Walk from Sanjeevaiah Park to Jala Vihar, Necklace Road, Hyderabad, on September 20, 2009 from 9:30 AM to 11 AM.
A true "community event", the memory walk was notable in being the first mass dementia awareness initiative in Hyderabad. An estimated gathering of 400-450 people from all walks of life and all age groups congregated at Sanjeevaiah Park to express solidarity and support to persons with dementia and their families / care givers. Participants included family members, ARDSI volunteers, people from social service organizations, hospitals, academic institutions, corporates and government representatives, The Memory Walk received wide media coverage, both prior to and after the event, including a WAD 2009 message from Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Rosaiah supporting the cause of dementia and urging community support to spread the message.
The voluneership that characterized the walk was evident in the eager participation of various NGOs and volunteers who pitched in at various points to help make the walk a success. Volunteers helped wholeheartedly with motley tasks for the outdoor event, ranging from the publicity of the event, on-site arrangements, decorating the venue, distributing literature, registration, crowd management, holding placards and banners during the walk and of course walking with unparalleled zeal!!
The Guests of honor were Sri J Satyanarayana (Principal Secretary – Health, Medical and Family Welfare), Sri L V Subramaniam (Principal Secretary – Health & Medical), Sri S P Singh (Commissioner, GHMC). Other dignitaries included Dr. Prasada Rao (Director NIMS), and Sri Sutirtha Bhattacharya (CMD - A.P TRANSCO).
The event was kicked off by an opening address by Dr. Alladi Suvarna, President ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan Chapter. Dr. Suvarna introduced the guests of honor and other dignitaries and gave a brief introduction on why 21 September is observed as World Alzheimer’s Day and also stressed upon the fact that the onset of this disease in India is much earlier than that observed in the west. She reiterated the need to not only create awareness but also establish the required infrastructure to manage this growing problem.
The guest of honor, Sri J Satyanarayana, in his message stressed on the fact that the problem of Dementia is increasing amongst the elderly and reassured that the government would extend necessary support to ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan. He called upon the community to wake up to the cause of spreading awareness about dementia and creation of a responsive and aware health system.
The telugu version of ADI's caergiver's guide was released by Sri J Satyanarayana.
Sri L V Subramaniam reiterated the need for awareness and care for the persons with dementia and complimented ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan Chapter for providing much needed services.
Sri S P Singh gave an inspiring address and touched upon the importance of taking care of the elderly and called for the greater involvement of the local communities and society at large.
Dr. Prasada Rao in his address recalled the role of Department of Neurology at NIMS in constituting and establishment of the first memory clinic in Hyderabad in 2006. He said that NIMS would continue to support all future initiatives by the memory clinic and ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan.
Sri. J Satyanarayana cut the ribbon and inaugurated the walk while Sri. LV Subramaniam and Sri S P Singh flagged off the event.
The Walk started at 9:30 am IST and culminated at Jala Vihar on Necklace road. Proceedings closed at 11:30 am IST. JalaVihar gave a ebullient welcome to the memory walkers by sponsoring a sumptuous breakfast buffet by the picturesque lakeside
We would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support in organizing this momentous event.