World Stroke Day: 350,000 strokes are reported each year in Pakistan

Published: October 29, 2015
Doctors stress need for centres at major hospitals for early diagnosis of the condition. PHOTO: FILE

Doctors stress need for centres at major hospitals for early diagnosis of the condition. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Neurologists have demanded that the government and health authorities establish ‘stroke units’ in every tertiary care hospital, as cases are increasing in the country.

Speaking at a seminar titled ‘World Stroke Day’, organised by the Pakistan Stroke Society (PSS) at the Pearl Continental hotel on Wednesday, the senior doctors said that stress was increasing among working people, especially among working women.

“Around 350,000 new cases are reported each year in Pakistan,” said Dr Abdul Malik, general secretary of PSS. He said that more than six per cent of the patients admitted in hospitals are due to stroke cases. “Of these, 25 to 35 per cent are young people,” he claimed.

Dr Malik said that the mortality rate in Pakistan is around 30 per cent. He said that strokes are considered the fifth leading cause of death. “Majority of patients are misdiagnosed due to untrained neurologists,” he disclosed.

Launching his ‘Stroke Manifesto’, he said that without establishing separate units it will not be possible to address the issue. “At least 20 per cent patients will survive if these units are established in major hospitals,” Malik claimed.

“It is a brain attack,” said Prof Shaukat Ali, former president of PSS. “Separate units should immediately be established in all major hospitals,” he urged.

Speaking about the issue of working women suffering from stress, Dr Aziza Anjum of the Working Women Welfare Trust, said that women face physical and mental stress each day. “The changed lifestyle has created depression, even among children,” she said.

“The ratio of women in the medical and education sectors has increased in the last two decades,” Dr Anjum explained.

Dr Qamarun Nissa of Dow University said that strokes are the leading cause of adult disability, adding that 15 million people suffer strokes each year. “One person dies every six minutes due to strokes, across the world,” she added. According to a study about stroke prevalence in Pakistan she said, “[The prevalence] is 4.8 per cent both in men and women.”

Dr Nabila Soomro, director of the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Dow University highlighted how patients are treated at her institution. She said that with utmost care and early diagnosis people can survive strokes. “Early discovery can minimise damage and patients can restart their normal routine,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2015.