Every year on World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September), all Alzheimer’s organisations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about this disease, providing information on research activities and progress achieved. On this day last week, UIC participated in the “Alzheimer’s Train”, officially launched by SNCF Trains-Expositions in Paris’ Gare du Nord, under the high patronage of the President of the French Republic. The ceremony was attended by a large number of prominent personalities, among them Mrs Rosalinde Bachelot, French Minister of Solidarity and Social Cohesion, who officially inaugurated the train.
As an organisation with a sense of solidarity, UIC felt it important to take part in this campaign. Beyond their primary role as a mode of transport, from the outset railways have constituted a powerful means of exchange and solidarity, bringing people, different regions and areas of production and consumption closer together. They are enablers of economic and social progress and, perhaps more than other forms of transport, are a vital part of people’s lives. They endeavour to meet citizens’ needs in the areas of mobility and service, whilst taking into account society’s aspirations with regard to safety, quality of life, communities and upholding sustainable development policies.
It is precisely because of this powerful link between humankind and the railways that railways across the world, through the medium of UIC, wished to “do their bit” in raising awareness of major social issues such as Alzheimer’s disease. Considered to be among the main concerns indiscriminately affecting people from all walks of life across the world, this disease is one of the major challenges for political and economic decision-makers, scientists and doctors, as well as – indeed first and foremost – for the people close to those who suffer from the disease.
It therefore went without saying that UIC wished to be among the partners involved in the Alzheimer’s Train. The desire to help reduce the spread and impact of this disease chimes perfectly with UIC’s guiding values, chief amongst which are universality and solidarity.