#WhatsYourPlan in the Caribbean region

Launched on 23 January, the regional campaign aimed to put direct pressure on governments to implement National Dementia Plans.

The Caribbean is facing a crisis as forecasts predict a skyrocketing 155% increase in dementia cases by 2050. 

Despite these alarming prevalence rates, progress in the region has been slow, with only 16% of Caribbean territories having made any progress in developing National Dementia Plans (NDP), most of which have inadequate funding.  

With dementia as the 3rd leading cause of death in the Americas, ADI and members in the Caribbean region are joined forces to urge the public and their governments to take urgent action on dementia through the #WhatsYourPlan campaign. 

The #WhatsYourPlan campaign in the Caribbean region

The regional Caribbean #WhatsYourPlan campaign took place from 16-29 January 2023 alongside 13 member associations of ADI. The campaign marked the first time that media and social media were leveraged to place pressure on governments to publicly respond regarding their plan to enact a National Dementia Plan before 2025, after failing to respond to previous correspondences from ADI and the respective associations.

As a part of this extension into the public arena, we called on and encouraged 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: What’s your plan? To increase pressure and add urgency to the calls for NDPs, we also encouraged and asked everyone – in the region and beyond – to get involved by sharing and engaging with messages from ADI and the participating associations, using the #WhatsYourPlan hashtag to directly tag government bodies.  

In the region...

The prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia is a growing as the population ages

  • Only 16%

    of countries and territories have made any NDP progress

  • 155%

    increases in people developing dementia by 2050

  • 740,000

    people who will be affected as result

The results of the campaign

The #WhatsYourPlan Caribbean campaign was successful in provoking responses and engaging with five Ministries of Health across the region.

During the first week of the campaign, Puerto Rico’s Department of Health, the British Virgin Islands’ (BVI) Ministry of Health and Wellness and Barbados’s Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs contacted Asociación de Alzheimer y Desórdenes Relacionados de Puerto RicoVirgin Islands Alzheimer’s Association and Barbado’s Alzheimer’s Association respectively after the campaign began to garner traction and attention from the wider public. In Barbados, the Ministry acknowledged that more targeted support was needed on those most impacted by dementia and that it would become a focus area within the policy on ageing.  In Puerto Rico, in addition to renewed talks around NDP implementation, the campaign also led to a promise of funding for an Alzheimer centre that has been long-awaited on the island.

During the second and final week of the campaign, ADI and Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago also met with the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Department in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss the development of a National Dementia Plan. In St Kitts and Nevis, the Alzheimer’s Association of St Kitts and Nevis met with Dr Sharon Esdaille, Chief Medical Officer for the Ministry of Health. Dr Esdaille expressed her support for NDP implementation and encouraged another meeting to take place at the beginning of March to further discuss details.

Though the campaign only managed to provoke 5 of 13 Ministries of Health to respond, there were also other successes. The digital side of the campaign was successful in achieving tangible outcomes, including increased social media engagement, followers and sharing of posts by members of the public across the region. In Grenada, a medical student and the President of the Neuroscience Society contacted Grenada’s Alzheimer’s Association after seeing their campaign posts, which led to discussions around hosting a March to End Alzheimer’s on 2 April 2023 and developing a collaborative framework with St George University and the regional churches. In Jamaica, though no direct contact was established, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, the Minister of Health & Wellness, reshared one of Alzheimer’s Jamaica‘s #WhatsYourPlan posts.

Snapshot of outcomes from the campaign...

The first public #WhatsYourPlan campaign saw various successes

  • 5

    established correspondences with Ministries of Health

  • 96

    pieces of media coverage, including television interviews, newspaper articles and radio interviews

  • 115k

    views on the #WhatsYourPlan campaign videos

Next steps

Despite the success of the #WhatsYourPlan Caribbean campaign in engaging Ministries and Departments of Health in participating countries, some associations did not receive responses from their respective governments. In response, these associations will continue to raise awareness about dementia in their communities and try to set up meetings with their Ministries of Health to discuss the importance of developing National Dementia Plans.

The next steps for each participating country will depend on the level of interaction made with the government and the Ministry of Health during the campaign. In some cases, the campaign has led to renewed talks around NDP implementation and funding commitments for Alzheimer centres; in other cases, however, there has been little to no engagement from the government, indicating the need for further advocacy efforts. These additional advocacy efforts will likely require direct communication and pressure from civil society, those living with dementia, carers and the wider public.

World Alzheimer’s Month, which takes place in September, will provide another key opportunity for both ADI and its member associations to build further public awareness around dementia and leverage pressure on governments to act. Overall, the success of the #WhatsYourPlan Caribbean campaign has demonstrated the importance of advocacy efforts in promoting policy changes, especially when we all come together as one.

Participating associations 

For this campaign, the following associations took part.