(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Your Excellency Ladies and gentlemen,
Dementia and other age-related conditions have quickly become some of the world’s biggest global health care challenges.
Today, approximately 48 million people suffer from dementia world-wide, causing much distress and pain for patients as well as their relatives. However: with a growing elderly population, by 2050 the number of patients with dementia is expected to be 135 million; almost three times as many as today.
This will be a challenge.
It will demand new ideas and solutions.
And creative, committed employees in the care sector will play a key role.
This is why the Queen Silvia Nursing Award was instituted: to meet some of the challenges in the areas of global ageing, elderly care and dementia. But also to inspire and motivate some of the most important players related to these issues, namely nursing students.
One long-term ambition was to expand the scholarship internationally, in order to create more opportunities to learn from each other. Sharing knowledge is one of the great possibilities that today’s connected society offers us all.
I am very happy to see that in a matter of 3 years, the scholarship is now offered in 4 countries. And over 1 500 ideas to improve the lives of the elderly and those living with dementia have been published by hundreds of nursing students.
It is with great pride – and great expectations! – that I welcome Poland and Polish nursing students to the group of countries and students who are a part of this project.
We know that nurses are one of the most valued competences in elderly care and that they will have an increasingly important role in the future. Therefore, the education and training of nurses is of great importance. The universities and institutions that perform higher-level education have an essential role in building the healthcare of tomorrow.
It is also my firm belief, that no matter what specialty you choose as a nursing student or nurse, a deepened knowledge about geriatrics or dementia will always benefit you and be an added value in your future career.
In 1995 I founded the Silviahemmet Foundation because I realized that there was a great need for training and education in dementia care; for employees in the health- and elderly care sector, as well as for relatives of people living with dementia. Throughout the years, it has been our clear aim to try to improve the quality of life for those affected by dementia and to facilitate the development of a dementia friendly society. The Queen Silvia Nursing Award is another big step in this direction.
I want to thank those of you who have supported the development of the scholarships in Poland. It is your dedication and hard work that have made this possible. I am also grateful to all of you who have applied with your creative and interesting ideas. Your contribution will make a difference for the care of our elderly for a long time.
Finally, I wish to congratulate Ms. Duszeńska from the Warsaw Medical University to being chosen as the first Queen Silvia Nursing Award scholar in Poland. I wish you the best of luck in your career.