â Pakistanis suffer a stroke 10 years earlier than people elsewhereâ
Experts at 16th International Neurology Update urge govt to
spend more money on primary healthcare and awareness
Pakistanis are suffering stroke at least 10 years earlier than the people in the rest of the world because of the high prevalence of hypertension and smoking, neurologists said on Friday.
They urged the government to spend more money on primary healthcare and awareness to prevent deaths and disability from preventable diseases.
“High blood pressure and smoking are two major risk factors that are causing stroke among Pakistani adults 10 years prior than the people in rest of the world,” Prof. Dr Ismail A Khatri, a Pakistani neurologist associated with the King Saud bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh said at the 16th International Neurology Update 2016 held in Karachi.
“By controlling hypertension and smoking, 50 percent stroke cases can be prevented in the country,” he added.
The neurology conference was officially inaugurated by Prof Ikuyu Nonaka, the Director of the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo Japan while neurologists, health experts and researchers from the US, Britain, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Singapore and several other countries of the world as well as entire Pakistan are attending the conference to discuss neurological disorders, their prevention and treatment.
Prof Ismail Khatri said the magnitude of stroke and its burden on the healthcare system in Pakistan was so huge that the country would have to spend billions of rupees on the treatment and rehabilitation of stroke patients every year as thousands of Pakistanis, many in their early 40s and 50s, were suffering a stroke because of their poor lifestyle.
“By spending just Rs400 to Rs500 million initially on prevention and awareness, Pakistan can save over Rs21 billion which it would have to spend annually on the treatment and rehabilitation of stroke patients every year,” he added.
He urged the authorities to spend more money on lifestyle diseases and awareness to lower burden of diseases on their healthcare system.
Prof Khatri said around one billion people in the world would die in the current century because of stroke which was now the leading cause of disability. He added that 30 people suffered a stroke in every minute around the globe of which, 10 died because of their lifestyle in a minute.
“High blood pressure and smoking are the biggest causes of stroke. High cholesterol and diabetes are also two important risk factors for stroke but if we manage to control the hypertension and smoking, stroke can be prevented among 50 percent people.”
Earlier, Japanese neurologist Prof. Ikuyu Nonaka formally inaugurated the conference by cutting a ribbon along with other international and Pakistani experts and congratulated the Pakistan Society of Neurology (PSN) and its allies for holding a successful moot.
Prof Nonaka on the occasion offered to train Pakistani neurologists at the National Centre of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo, Japan saying they had state of the art equipment and facilities which could be offered to young Pakistani scientists and experts to learn from their experiences and apply the knowledge and training in Pakistan for the benefit of local people.
Neurology Update chairman Prof Muhammad Wasey while speaking at the opening session welcomed the international and national experts in Karachi and hoped that their knowledge and expertise would help participants and young neurologists to learn about typical neurological disorders, their management and prevention.
He said the Pakistan Society of Neurology and its allied bodies were striving hard for the training of young neurologists, general physicians and paramedics regarding the management and treatment of neurological disorders, as Pakistan was facing a shortfall of trained and qualified neurologists while number of patients with nerve and muscle diseases were on the rise due to poor lifestyle and lack of awareness among the masses.
Prof Wasey said no reliable data on the number of patients with neurological disorders, their prevalence and incidence in the country was available but announced that a proposal to launch a population based survey to ascertain the magnitude of the problem was being prepared so that a comprehensive strategy could be prepared.
He urged both the federal and provincial governments to spend more money on prevention of neurological disorders, which could be avoided with awareness and offered full support of the Pakistan Society of Neurologists and allied bodies in launching preventive measures and programs for the control of neurological disorders.
Earlier, experts spoke on causes, treatment and prevention of Parkinson’s Disease in Pakistan and urged the government to spend more money on the preventive care instead of spending on tertiary-care health facilities.