Taking action against dementia in Africa: A Look back at the ADI African Regional Conference on dementia strategy

This November, African regional members from across the continent including Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sénégal, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, convened in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi to develop and galvanise strategies to build greater awareness of dementia in the region and take action. 


The African Regional Conference and regional members meeting for ADI unfolded over three impactful days under the theme “Let’s take action on dementia.” The conference, immediately followed by a Francophone Day, set the stage for collaborative efforts, enlightening dialogues, and empowering workshops. Capturing the essence of the collective commitment to address the challenges of dementia in Africa.  

The opening ceremony marked the beginning of a journey that would resonate across borders. Elizabeth Mutunga, Founder & CEO of Alzheimer’s Dementia Organisation Kenya, and Noeline Nakasujja, Board Member of the Uganda Alzheimer’s Association, welcomed attendees, associations, and health ministers with warmth and anticipation. Dr. Rebecca Kiptui from the Kenyan Ministry of Health shared a deeply personal account of her experiences with dementia, setting an emotional tone for the conference. 

The day unfolded with powerful testimonies from caregivers and insightful research presentations by regional experts. Dr. Yared Zewde, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Addis Ababa University and CEO and founder of Alzheimer Ethiopia, provided a comprehensive exploration of Dementia policy in Ethiopia. The core mission of the conference was beautifully encapsulated by a caregiver’s experience, emphasising the importance of attending the conference and how knowledge-sharing can empower her network of fellow care providers to have a voice “I have become a voice, and we have become a voice”. 

The first day also welcomed a closing talk by 2023 World Alzheimer Report contributor Joanne Muthoki Kithanze speaking on her article subject: addressing depression to reduce dementia cases in Kenya.  

The second day saw a spirit of allyship and collaboration among attendees and speakers. Gladwell Wanjiru and her daughter Anderline Gakiia shared a brave and honest account of living with dementia and caregiving, inspiring those in the room with their resilience. Professor Seggane Musisi, joining virtually from Uganda, shed light on the challenges of diagnosis and treatment in Africa. 

Levi Muyela, Project Officer at Africa Mental Health & Training Foundation, presented the results of a dementia screening program in rural Kenya. Dr. Sylvia Gakii Kimathi Mbugua shared valuable insights from a neurologist’s perspective on diagnosis and treatment, and a fitness interlude led by Ginette Youatou Tuayon added a holistic dimension to the conference. 

The day concluded with updates from Kago Paledi of Dementia Botswana and a summary session by lead organisers Elizabeth (ADOK), Noeline (UAA), and Wendy Weidner (ADI), highlighting the key messages and highlights from the conference.  

Following the main conference, the Francophone Day provided a unique space for representatives from French-speaking nations to come together. Delegates from Burundi, Cameroon, France, Madagascar, Mauritius, Senegal, as well as representatives from Mali and Tunisia, engaged in discussions in their primary language. The day facilitated a crucial exchange on the current situation of dementia cases and treatment within Francophone Africa, paving the way for collaborative strategies among these nations. 

The series of events marked an important milestone for the African continent’s efforts to combat dementia. The collective call to action from this event became clear, #TakeActionOnDementia signalled not just an imperative statement, but a call for collaboration and togetherness. The African regional meeting,  conference and francophone day in Nairobi were not just gatherings;  they were a catalyst for change, a platform for shared experiences, and a commitment to a future where dementia is met with understanding, compassion, and effective care. The echoes of this event continue to inspire and energise its participants, reminding us that we can make a meaningful impact against the challenges of dementia.  

Let us take action against dementia, together.  

Learn more about our members work in the Africa Region

Dementia in sub-Saharan Africa Cover

Dementia in sub-Saharan Africa

This report highlights the impact of dementia in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the experiences of those living with dementia in the region and recommendations for governments. Read More