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Dealing with Stroke and the Neurological NCD Burden in India, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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Dealing with Stroke and the Neurological NCD Burden in Indiaby Dr. Shraddha Bhure

Over the last few years, neurological non-communicable diseases have emerged as one of the greatest threats to public health in India. According to a recent study published by The Lancet Global Health, the contribution of neurological non-communicable disorders such as stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, etc., to the disability adjusted life-years (DALYs) in India grew over two-fold from 4% in 1990 to 8.2% in 2019.

Stroke – A growing cause for concern in India
The Lancet Global Health study also reported that out of the various neurological disorders, stroke resulted in 699,000 fatalities in 2019. Stroke is a major cause of disability in India. Symptoms of the disease include a feeling of numbness or weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, problems with vision and difficulty walking or a loss of coordination in the body. Various biological and lifestyle related factors can cause stroke, however, certain risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, etc. can increase the likelihood of its occurrence. In fact, work related stress, sleeping disorders and fatigue, which are not regarded as traditional factors, can also add to the risk of stroke. Stroke mainly occurs either due to obstructed blood supply to the brain or the rupture of a blood vessel, causing brain cells to die. Insufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain can lead to severe damage. Thus, stroke requires timely diagnosis and intervention.

Addressing the neurological NCD burden in India
In order to foster a robust healthcare framework to address India’s burden of NCDs – especially neurological disorders – we need to begin with extensive awareness building and education programs. Raising awareness around various disorders can help in managing and treating them, at times even prevent them from occurring. Especially for diseases such as stroke, consistent awareness building along with measures for prevention, timely identification and diagnosis, and treatment can help save lives. In the case of acute ischemic stroke, delayed identification of symptoms and late treatment can increase the risk of disability or death, thus making knowledge-sharing even more crucial. The next important step is to ensure availability of timely treatment and care. In the case of stroke, it is essential that the patient be brought to a stroke ready hospital promptly, thus facilitating treatment within the ‘golden period’ of 4.5 hours.

In an effort to recognise the need for the right facilities to combat stroke, the Government launched the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 2010, focusing on strengthening the healthcare infrastructure to facilitate early diagnosis, management and referral. A stroke-ready facility comprises the availability of a neurologist, CT scanning and MRI facilities, and access to thrombolytic treatment for stroke patients.

Public private partnership to strengthen healthcare to address neurological disorders

One of the key elements in tackling the rising incidences of neurological disorders is Public – Private – Partnerships (PPPs), to help the general public gain access to much-needed healthcare facilities. The PPP framework has the potential to drive long-term sustainable models for Indian healthcare and provide accessible, quality care to patients by leveraging the expertise of the private sector in tandem with the resources and subsidies provided by the public sector. In the case of neurological disorders, where continuous awareness building, timely diagnosis, and access to critical care is imperative, PPPs may help reduce the neurological NCD burden our country faces today.Dr. Shraddha Bhure, Medical Director at Boehringer Ingelheim India

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.)


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