ADI hosted its first virtual regional meeting for ADI members in Latin America, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, on 12 November. The second virtual regional meeting Asia Pacific took place a week later on 12 November.
During the Latin America meeting, 18 participants from 13 countries were in attendance.
The 2-hour meeting started with a presentation from Paola Barbarino, highlighting ADI’s overall strategy and involvement with the region, followed by a discussion regarding regional successes and challenges, focussing in particular on advocacy and members’ difficulties in engaging with their local governments.
Ingrid Wellington from Asociación de Apoyo a los Familiares de Pacientes con Alzheimer y Otras Enfermedades Demenciales said:
“Each country had the opportunity to talk about their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and although they are very similar for all members, the commitment is to continue reinforcing, replicating, supporting each other… I feel that it was an excellent meeting that will undoubtedly have many favourable results for the sake of placing dementia as a public health priority in all of our countries.”
The meeting for Asia Pacific took place a week later, with more than 40 participants from 19 countries and was kindly hosted by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Association of Thailand.
The 4-hour meeting started with an update from the Thai association, followed by a welcome speech by Dr. Akarathan Jitnuyanont, Director of the Institute of Geriatric Medicine, Ministry of Health Thailand.
Meera Pattabiraman, Chair of the ADI Asia Pacific Regional Committee (APRO) and DY Suharya, ADI Regional Director for Asia Pacific gave an overview of ADI APRO’s programme as well as a financial update.
Between presentations, a compilation of brain gym video exercises from around the Asia Pacific region made for a welcome break from presentations.
Emily Ong, dementia advocate and member of Dementia Alliance International (DAI), gave an inspiring talk about how she became an advocate and the various projects she is involved in nowadays.
In the opening of her presentation, Emily said:
“When I was diagnosed with young onset dementia in 2017, I thought my life was over. I was only referred to Dementia Singapore – back then known as ADA – 2 years after that. So I often wonder how much more I could have lived my life if I had been supported right after the diagnosis. No-one should walk this journey unsupported.”
Similarly to the Latin America regional meeting, Paola Barbarino then gave a brief update regarding ADI’s strategy and involvement with the Asia Pacific region.
Three Youth Engagement Initiatives from China, Thailand and Japan were then showcased.
Announcements were made regarding the next Asia Pacific regional meetings: Taiwan in 2022, Brunei in 2023 and China in 2024.