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 ‘Niger Delta region has highest stroke cases globally’

‘Niger Delta region has highest stroke cases globally’

FOUNDATION co-chair, African Stroke Organisation, Professor Mayowa Owolabi, has said the Niger Delta region has the highest prevalence of stroke in the world, as he called for a four-pronged approach: surveillance, prevention, acute care and rehabilitation, to stem the rising cases in the country.

Professor Owolabi, a neurologist, speaking at the third annual (hybrid) African Stroke Organisation Conference, with the theme ‘Promoting brain health through stroke prevention and control’ in Ibadan, put the prevalence of stroke in Niger-Delta at 1.4 per 1,000 population, due to the high level of air pollution in the area, aside from other factors.

He stated that the incidence of stroke in Africa is the highest, adding that stemming the rising cases requires early detection and control of hypertension, detection and control of high cholesterol, daily intake of green leafy vegetables, exercising, reduction in alcohol use, cessation of cigarette smoking and a reduction in obesity, among others.

According to Professor Owolabi, “If we don’t do anything about it, the situation is likely to get worse. Every minute, six Africans are developing a stroke, and every minute, at least one Nigerian is developing a stroke, with seven out of every 10 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases and non-communicable diseases.

“So, we need to domesticate the stroke quadrangle, which includes stroke surveillance, stroke prevention, acute care and rehabilitation. This is exactly what the African Stroke Organisation is trying to ensure, working with all stakeholders to reduce the burden of stroke on the continent.”

Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Pate, speaking through the National Coordinator, Non-communicable Disease Division at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Debbie Odoh, said by estimates, one in four persons will likely experience stroke, adding that stroke fatality rate in Nigeria has increased from 21.2 percent to 40 percent over a 30-day period, a reason to recalibrate Nigeria’s national response and strategy to stroke.

While plans are underway to establish the national stroke registry and the national stroke prevention and management guidelines, the minister said Nigeria is soon to start screening at least 80 percent of the eligible population for hypertension, placing 80 percent of those with hypertension on standard treatment, as well as ensuring that 80 percent of hypertensive patients receiving treatment have their blood pressure sustainably controlled, in a bid to avert stroke and other complications of hypertension.

He declared that this would contribute towards achieving at least a 25 percent reduction in the unconditional probability of dying prematurely from cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases like stroke.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode Adebowale, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Professor Aderonke Baiyeroju, had said routine hypertension screening and checkups at every clinic visit should be made mandatory, adding that stroke units should be established in various health institutions and universal health coverage promoted to enable broader access to recommended stroke intervention packages, including essential medicines.(NIGERIAN TRIBUNE).

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