The federal government says its recent facility-based study shows that the global stroke crisis kills 39 per cent of its survivors in Nigeria within three months while another 12 per cent develop severe disability afterward.
This is coming as Nigeria marks this year’s World Stroke Day yesterday to underscore the serious nature and high rate of strokes, create awareness on prevention, treatment option, better care and support for survivors.
The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Linus Awute said at the event in Abuja that over 15 million people suffer from stroke attack each year and about 6 million of them die from it globally, urging against lifestyle changes that trigger the condition.
He said: “Stroke is a common complication of hypertension, diabetes and sickle cell disease and this conditions share similar risk factors like unhealthy nutrition- fast foods, excess salt and sugar intake, with attendant overweight and obesity- lack of physical activity, excess alcohol intake and tobacco use.”
According to Awute, the government is concerned about the increasing burden caused by stroke and other non-communicable diseases which has led to the flag off of the National Stroke Prevention Programme and the inauguration of the National Stroke Reference Group.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that stroke is the second leading cause of death among people above 60 years and the fifth leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 59.
For Dr Ogugua Osi-Ogbu, a consultant geriatrician and lead stroke ambassador in Abuja, the cure for stroke is in the hands of individuals not clinicians.
“For stroke survivors to really do well, in addition to the funds to take care of their rehabilitation- they need to go for physiotherapy two to three times in a week for two to six months and very expensive, but it is cheaper to prevent strokes- they need the support of family and friends,” she said.
Osi-Ogbu narrated how disparities exist in stroke patients’ outcomes based on the support each patient gets from family members and called for early diagnosis, emergency preparedness and good health practice for all individuals.