October 29, 2020

Zimbabwe urged to avail stroke treatment services

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Mirirai Nsingo

Zimbabwe has been urged to seriously look into the rehabilitation of stroke survivors and make treatment and care services available, accessible and affordable.

Speaking to ZTN as the country joined the world to mark World Stroke Day, Stroke Association of Zimbabwe founder, Aggrey Ngazana noted with concern the inaccessibility of health services for survivors of stroke.

“We urge the government to seriously look into the rehabilitation issues of stroke survivors and make it affordable or even free.

“Therapy is not highly regarded by most medical aid societies; most survivors end up being disabled, and lose speech due to deprivation of timely assessment and progress monitoring through rehabilitation,” he said.

World Stroke Day is commemorated annually on October 29 and this year’s theme is ‘Join the Movement’.

Ngazana said stroke survivors are susceptible to Covid-19, adding that the absence of affordable services in Zimbabwe worsen the dilemma.

“We commemorate this year against the background of Covid-19. Stroke patients are at high risk of contracting Covid-19 and this increases mortality and morbidity.

“Stroke survivors have avoided hospitalization due to the high costs of treatment and rehabilitation and this is a cause of concern for the Stroke Association.”

The Stroke Association of Zimbabwe believes the solution to reduce stroke incidences lies in the nation’s hands.

“On prevention it is clear that the solution of stroke is in our hands. The actions that we need to take are built on evidence that shows that by addressing a handful of key risk factors we have the power to prevent every other stroke.

“We can do this through population based approaches to health including alcohol and tobacco control, improved diet, exercise promotion alongside the implementation of effective tools to manage existing hypertension, diabetes and atrial fibrillation,” he added.

According to the World Stroke Organisation, stroke has been and continues to be a widespread disease worldwide, being the single largest cause of disability and second largest cause of death globally.

This year’s theme seeks to raise awareness on the importance of living an active lifestyle which has numerous benefits, including prevention of stroke.

According to the World Health Organisation, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients and brain cells begin to die in minutes.

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