ADI hosted its first regional member meetings since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with the European regional members forum taking place on 27 April and the Caribbean regional members meeting on 20 May.
At the European forum, 31 participants from 24 countries were in attendance. The meeting started with a few words from Birgitta Martensson, Switzerland and Jesus Rodrigo, Spain. Multiple sessions took place throughout the day, including a presentation from the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), led by Brian Lawlor, Deputy Executive Director. The session explained how members could benefit from ADI’s partnership with GBHI and included presentations from Lithuania, Kenya and Ireland about joining the ‘Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health’ programme.
In the afternoon, attendees were moved into breakout rooms to discuss current policy priorities and the main barriers to achieving them. For those without established dementia plans, the difficulties were largely centred around poor communication avenues with governments. These discussions revealed the similarities across countries in the region, with Dementia Lithuania later tweeting to say how ‘important [it was] to feel part of a larger community!’
The Caribbean meeting took place a few weeks later, with 22 participants from 15 countries in attendance. The 3-hour meeting included a presentation from ADI CEO Paola Barbarino, which was then followed by a discussion about regional challenges and the way forward for the Caribbean, including the involvement of more youth.
During the discussion, Pamelia Brereton of Barbados Alzheimer’s Association said:
“When you look at the Caribbean region and then look at the larger countries, such as the UK and Canada, you have a lot more services available for care. We don’t. The services that we have don’t always meet up to the standards that we would like to see happen within the Caribbean region.”
Similarly to the European forum and following general discussions, members moved into breakout rooms. These discussions highlighted the common policy issues members are facing in the region, including lack of government buy-in, data, stigma and more.
The African regional meeting for members will take place on 17 June.