Alongside members in the region, ADI is calling for urgent action on National Dementia Plan (NDP) implementation in the Caribbean as forecasts predict a skyrocketing 155% increase in dementia cases by 2050
Despite alarming prevalence rates, progress in the Caribbean has been slow with only 16% of Caribbean nations having made any progress in developing NDPs, most of which have inadequate funding. In the Americas, dementia is 3rd leading cause of death.
In response, ADI and members in the Caribbean region are joining forces to urge the public and their governments to take urgent action on dementia through the #WhatsYourPlan campaign.
Paola Barbarino, ADI CEO, said: “A National Dementia Plan can help ensure that those living with dementia in the Caribbean have access to the support and services they need to live well, for longer. Access to support and a care plan, including care at home and in community settings, at home adaptations, and respite for carers, alongside medical treatments, are vital for people living with dementia, as well as their carers and family.“
By denying people living with dementia and those across the region this support, governments are doing a disservice to their communities. All people living with dementia in the Caribbean deserve access to the kinds of support and services a national dementia plan makes available. It’s their human right.
Reiterating the importance of the campaign and a need for more awareness around dementia, Bernadette Ettienne of Dominica Dementia Foundation, said: “Many a time, the caregivers and the family find it difficult to process or believe that some of the words uttered or behaviors acted out are not intentional [from general lack of awareness about the disease]. Dementia and Alzheimer’s affects all involved – the caregiver, the person living with it and their family.”
The World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global Action Plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 aims for 75% of WHO Member States to implement National Dementia Plans by 2025. However, progress has been far too slow with only 39 out of 194 WHO Member States having so far implemented a plan.
With a globally ageing population, the development of new treatments and diagnostics, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, NDPs have never been more critical.
The #WhatsYourPlan campaign, launched in November 2021, aims to encourage governments around the world to develop, fund and implement NDPs in their countries.
Since the launch of the campaign, there has already been some promising successes, including the Brazilian Senate unanimously passing the National Law of Care for People with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and Costa Rica’s Consejo de Salud Mental committing to fund an NDP.
The campaign also seeks to bring renewed urgency to the issue and to hold governments accountable for their commitment to provide adequate diagnosis, treatment, research, care and support for those living with dementia. Alongside members of ADI and partners, the campaign aims to make direct contact with governments and engage in dialogues to determine the status of an NDP in their country.
If no communication is established with the respective governments, social and traditional media featuring the hashtag #WhatsYourPlan, are leveraged to encourage governments to respond. The Caribbean regional campaign marks the first time that external pressure will be placed on governments.
As a part of this extension into the public arena, we intend to call on and encourage all of our members, friends and colleagues in the fields of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to lend their voices to the campaign and ask governments: #WhatsYourPlan?