News Release

President of Costa Rica becomes Honorary Ambassador of ADI

San Jose, 13 October 2017

Read this news release in Spanish.

Award presented by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and Costa Rican Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and other Associated Dementias (ASCADA)

  • Every 3 seconds someone in the world develops dementia, but most people with dementia do not receive a diagnosis or support
  • The government of Costa Rica is at the forefront of response to dementia
  • Only 29 governments have developed a plan on dementia – more plans are needed

ADI has presented the award of Honorary Ambassador to the President of the Republic of Costa Rica, the most excellent Mr. Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, for his contribution to the fight to reduce the impact of dementia in the world. The government of Costa Rica was the first to develop a  national plan on dementia in Ibero-America in 2014.

A press conference was held in the auditorium of the Presidential House, headed by national authorities with the participation of the Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Ms. Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría, Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications Mrs. Carolina Vásquez Soto, President of the Board of Directors of the Social Protection Board, Mrs. Delia Villalobos, President of the National Council of the Elderly Person (Conapam), Mrs. Zulema Villalta, President of the Costa Rican Alzheimer's Association, Dr. Norbel Román and CEO of ADI, Paola Barbarino.

Paola said, “We are delighted to have the support of the President and hope that others will follow this example to raise awareness and act on dementia globally.”

Dementia is now widely recognized as one of the most important health crises of the 21st century but there is an urgent need for collaborative, global action to address the impact of dementia.

In May 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a global plan on dementia that includes targets for improved awareness, risk reduction, diagnosis, care and treatment, support for care partners and research by 2025. The plan urges WHO Member States to develop national plans that address the unique impact of dementia in their county. Costa Rica is one of only 29 governments have developed a national plan.

Following the development of the National Alzheimer's Plan in 2014, Costa Rica has put itself at the forefront of the care and improvement of the response to dementia in Latin America in seven fundamental principles:

1. Human rights of people with dementia

2. Empowerment and participation of people with dementia and their caregivers

3. Practices based on scientific evidence for risk reduction and dementia care with research in the
    public and private sector.

4. Multi-sectoral collaboration in the public health response to dementia

5. Health, social and community coverage for dementia

6. Equity in public health responses in relation to dementia

7. Care, prevention, promotion and rehabilitation in the treatment and development of dementia care.

The effective application of these principles has placed Costa Rica as a pioneer and leader at the Global level in congruence with the strategy of attention to dementia signed by all members of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and proposed by the state of Costa Rica, according to the Dr Norbel Román, President of ASCADA.

The actions developed have allowed the establishment of public health policies and actions focused on social and community participation with a focus on respect for human rights and universal accessibility with the collaboration of the regional office of the Pan American Health Organization PAHO-WHO for mental health, aging, disability, human rights and societies.

ADI congratulates the President alongside the association in the prioritisation of dementia in the region and internationally. More governments must develop plans to reduce the impact of dementia globally. ADI welcomes the support of Heads of State to achieve greater awareness of, and action on dementia in partnership with Alzheimer associations and people with dementia and their care partners in their country. 


Notes to Editor

Global impact of dementia

  • Every 3 seconds someone in the world develops dementia
  • Dementia will become a billion-dollar disease in 2018Almost 50 million people in the world are estimated to be living with the disease
  • Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia are the most common type of dementia, accounting for up to 90% of dementia cases
  • Symptoms may include loss of memory, difficulty performing previously routine tasks and changes in personality and mood

About Alzheimer’s Disease International

ADI is the international federation of 90 Alzheimer associations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. ADI's vision is prevention, care and inclusion today, and cure tomorrow. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. ADI works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for persons with dementia and their care partners, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change. For more information, please visit

About Asociación Costarricense de Alzheimer y otras Demencias Asociada (ASCADA)

The Costa Rican Association of Alzheimer's and Associated Dementias (ASCADA) was created as a private, non-profit initiative to provide psychological and spiritual training and counseling to families and / or caregivers of Alzheimer's and related illnesses. ASCADA is made up of a volunteer group of professionals in medicine, psychology, nutrition and physical and respiratory therapy, relatives of patients and / or caregivers and former caregivers, who have been trained to clarify many doubts and give answers to the different queries they make the Costa Ricans who suffer the pain of caring for a relative with Alzheimer's. For more information, visit