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India has 1.6 million stroke cases a year: Study

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NEW DELHI: There is a need to establish high quality comprehensive stroke units across India.

It is estimated that India has 1.6 million cases of stroke annually with early case fatality rates ranging from 27% to 41%. This equates to 1.5 million people having a stroke each year, and a further 500,000 people, each year, living with stroke disability.

This first of its kind Stroke Rehabilitation in India study was released on October 4, 2016, by Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General-ICMR, Dr Richard Lindley, Professor-The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, Prof Srinath Reddy-President, Public Health Foundation of India, Dr Jayaraj Pandian, Professor and HoD-CMC Ludhiana, Dr Damodar Bachani, Deputy Commissioner-MoHFW and Prof GVS Murthy, Director-Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad.

The study, recommends that it is imperative to invest in stroke units and multidisciplinary rehabilitation centers to improve the outcome after stroke.

Although there is a paucity of data on the long-term consequences of stroke on families in India, anecdotal evidence indicates a significant burden, particularly in rural areas. Stroke is the third commonest cause of death in the adult population.

Prof Murthy, Co-Investigator, said, “There is an urgent need to establish well quipped and staffed accessible and affordable stoke care units supplemented with family supported care.”

The attend trial was a multi-centre, randomised, blinded outcome assessor, controlled trial, which looked at whether a family-led caregiver-delivered home-based rehabilitation intervention versus usual care is an effective, affordable early supported discharge strategy for those with disabling stroke in India.

The trial was conducted at 14 centres across India. This is one of the largest stroke trials ever undertaken. 1250 stroke patients were followed up over six months. The study was supported by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NMHRC) of Australia.

The study was coordinated by Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, and the quality of the implementation monitored by the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad. The George Institute for Global Health provided the technical support for implementing the study.

The findings from the study categorically support the establishment of high quality comprehensive stoke units across India increasing to about a 100 from the present 30 such centres.

Results of the study and policy implications were presented at a workshop in Delhi. The workshop was organized by the Indian Institute of Public Health-Hyderabad, in collaboration with the George Institute-India and the Christian Medical College-Ludhiana.

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