World Stroke Day: Pate Advocates Proactive Measures To Combat Stroke


The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Pate has called for heightened awareness and proactive measures to combat the high incidence of stroke in the country.

Director, Press and Public Relations Unit of the Ministry, Patricia Deworitshe disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday, October 30, 2023.

Deworitshe said the Minister made the call at a Ministerial Press Briefing to Commemorate this year’s World Stroke Day with the theme, “Together we are #GreaterThan Stroke,” held in Abuja today.

Pate explained that stroke was a cardiovascular disease that occurred when the blood supply to the brain was reduced or blocked, depriving brain tissue of essential oxygen and nutrients.

He listed symptoms of the disease to include, “paralysis or numbness on one side of the body, confusion, difficulty in speaking or swallowing, impaired coordination to severe headaches”.

He adduced that the high incidence of stroke in Nigeria was driven by prevalent risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, poor dietary choices, alcohol use, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.

The Minister further disclosed that hypertension alone contributed to up to 90% of all stroke cases, therefore, immediate medical attention was vital in the event of a stroke.

Speaking on the Federal Government’s effort in combating the disease, the Minister said, “recognizing the vital role of Primary Health Care (PHC)in disease prevention and early detection, we launched the National Hypertension Control Initiative (NHCI) in August 2019.

“This initiative focuses on strengthening PHC Centres to prevent and manage hypertension. The initiative has made significant progress with its simplified hypertension treatment protocol implemented in numerous PHC Centres across the country.

“To further support heart emergencies, the Nigerian Heart Foundation has procured Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for deployment in high-population areas such as airports. AEDs are portable life-saving medical devices used to revive sudden cardiac arrest victims, he added.

Pate further stated that the World Stroke Organisation reports that stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting over 12 million people each year. However, up to 90% of strokes were preventable.

He announced that strategic policy documents aimed at preventing cardiovascular diseases have been developed- including a National Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Policy, Multi-Sectoral Action Plan on NCDs, and National Guidelines for prevention, control, and management of hypertension noting that the Ministry has also developed guidelines for other NCDs- diabetes, and sickle cell disease, and currently implementing the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and Regulations 2019.

The Minister therefore enjoined health workers to come together to share key messages on stroke prevention and take action that will help individuals understand and address these risks.

Earlier, Director, Public Health Department, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike stated that Nigeria bore a significant burden of stroke, noting that current data indicated crude stroke prevalence rates as high as 1331 cases.

He further revealed from Hospital-based data that stroke was the most common cause of adult neurological admissions in many parts of the country.

“Alarmingly, up to 40% of patients admitted for acute strokes in Nigeria do not survive beyond 30 days. Many survivors are left with varying degrees of disability and face substantial lifetime costs due to rehabilitation and social reintegration”, Dr Anyaike said.

The #GreaterThan campaign aims to empower individuals to understand and address stroke risks.

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