In 2017, St. Kitts and Nevis, along with all 194 WHO Member States, unanimously adopted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia with the primary objective of the plan being the creation of National Dementia Plans and strategies. However, the WHO Global Status Report on the Public Health response to dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease International’s own report ‘From plan to impact V’, tracking the progress of Member States towards achieving the outcomes of the plan, has demonstrated that St. Kitts and Nevis is yet to uphold their 2017 commitment and thus its promise to provide adequate care and support to those living with dementia, carers and the public.
These reports come at a poignant time – currently there is a large number of people living with dementia in St. Kitts and Nevis, and these numbers are predicated to rise greatly by 2050. Dementia costs the global economy USD $1.3 trillion dollars, a number predicated to more than double by 2030. While these projections are striking, it is likely that the true population of those living with dementia is being grossly underestimated. Inadequacies in the current diagnosis process of the condition also mean that these projections may grossly underestimate the true scale of the problem. Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia; drawing us closer to the precipice of a global public health crisis. Time is running out to act.
It is for this reason that Alzheimer’s Disease International, the federation of 105 Alzheimer and dementia associations from around the world and a non-state actor in official relations in the WHO, alongside our member, the Alzheimer’s Association of St. Kitts and Nevis have previously written to your government to urge you to act. ADI and the Alzheimer’s Association of St. Kitts and Nevis strongly believes that dedicated, funded national dementia plans, created by expert, multidisciplinary teams, including those living with dementia and their carers, are the best and most robust way to manage the multifaceted challenges of dementia to healthcare systems, to governments, society and, of course, to those people directly impacted by the condition.
Working with our member associations in the region, including in your country, ADI will be hosting an awareness raising week, from Monday 23rd January. The focus of the campaign, titled #WhatsYourPlan, is to shine a light on the benefits to people living with dementia, their families and cares of a good quality national dementia plan. We will be encouraging people to find out more about Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and to find out about the progress of the National Dementia Plan in your country. From diagnosis to post diagnosis support, from research and risk reduction to treatment and care, people in the country should be aware of what support is available and how to access it.
We will continue to work with the Alzheimer’s Association of St. Kitts and Nevis to help them further develop and build capacity in the dementia space in your country, as they play a vital role in advancing the seven action areas identified in the WHO Global action plan in St. Kitts and Nevis. In light of this campaign, it is my hope that as Minister of Health, you will play an influential and crucial role in accelerating progress towards a plan/strategy in your country and will avail yourself of the help that the Alzheimer’s Association of St. Kitts and Nevis and ADI are ready to offer. This is a real opportunity for St. Kitts and Nevis and ADI to inspire other countries to move forward with plans of their own – both within the Caribbean and beyond.
We look forward to hearing from you. Alzheimer’s Disease International and the Alzheimer’s Association of St. Kitts and Nevis stand willing to assist your Ministry in any way possible.
Paola Barbarino, CEO
Alzheimer’s Disease International
c/o Dr. Joan Rawlins
President: Alzheimer’s Association of St. Kitts and Nevis