World Stroke Day 2021: Timely access for quality stroke treatment

  • Around one in every four adults above the age of 25 have at least one stroke in their lifetime.
  • More than 13 million people will have a stroke each year and around 5.5 million will die as a result, according to the World Stroke Organization (WSO) as we observe World Stroke Day 2021 on Friday, October 29. On this day, the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other organisations around the world, honour stroke survivors and support countries to identify and apply “best buy” interventions that reduce the risk of strokes.

    World Stroke Day was established by WSO to increase awareness and drive action on stroke around the world.

    According to WHO regional director for South-East Asia Poonam Khetrapal Singh, an estimated 70 per cent of strokes and 87 per cent of stroke-related deaths and disability-adjusted life years occur in low- and middle-income countries.

    “The WHO South-East Asia Region is committed to strengthening health care services to prevent, treat and manage stroke, and to provide quality rehabilitative care for stroke-related disability,” she said.

    All of these countries implement multi-sectoral action plans, while also expanding the provision of non-communicable diseases (NCD) services at the primary level, in line with the 2016 Colombo Declaration.

    Theme for World Stroke Day 2021

    For 2021 and 2022, the WSO campaign aims to focus on raising awareness of the signs of stroke and the need for timely access to quality stroke treatment. “When somebody has a stroke, every second that goes by is crucial. As brain tissue and millions of neurons begin to fade away, time could not be more precious,” the organisation stated on its website.

    What is a stroke?

    According to the World Stroke Organization, a stroke is a non-communicable condition where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen starvation, brain damage and loss of function. A stroke is most frequently caused by a clot in an artery supplying blood to the brain, a situation known as ischemia.

    The chances of a stroke increase significantly by age and globally, around one in every four adults above the age of 25 have at least one stroke in their lifetime.

    Evidence has also shown that coronavirus infection increases an individual’s risk of stroke. As a result, countries across the world need to leverage every chance possible to improve health and well-being, increase health system efficiency, and promote social and economic empowerment and growth, the WHO regional director noted.

    “A fairer, healthier, more sustainable region is ours to achieve,” Singh said.

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