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World Stroke Campaign

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 World Stroke Campaign

There are 15 million people worldwide who suffer a stroke each year.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke is the second leading cause of death for people above the age of 60 years, and the fifth leading cause in people aged 15 to 59 years old.  Each year, nearly six million people worldwide die from stroke. One in six people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. Every six seconds, stroke kills some. Stroke claims more than twice as many lives as AIDS.  In fact, stroke continues to be responsible for more deaths annually than those attributed to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. The burden of stroke now disproportionately affects individuals living in resource-poor countries.

 

Stroke, as a burden of disease, still remains little understood. Enhanced advocacy and sustained public health education at the global level must be undertaken. To date, stroke education and the delivery of the best possible care for stroke survivors needs to be put higher up on the public health agenda.  A passive attitude towards stroke is no longer justifiable: stroke can be potentially prevented to a large extent, and acute stroke is potentially treatable. Notwithstanding, there is much more that can be done to improve the quality of life for people who have suffered from a stroke. Without coordinated effort on the part of the international public health community, stroke will claim the lives of up to 6.5 million people each year by 2015, according to the World Stroke Organization.

 

The time to act is now. 

 

There is an urgent need to scale-up awareness of global fight against stroke.  Information, education and communication initiatives, especially with respect to carrying out a prevention-to-care continuum must be adopted. Real-world experiences in risk reduction, for example, must be better coordinated and documented. 

 

In response to this crisis, the World Stroke Organization (WSO), in 2010, launched the World Stroke Campaign to intensify global awareness about the fight against stroke.  This initiative is directly in line with the World Stroke Proclamation as follows:

“Whereas; stroke is a global epidemic that threatens lives, health and quality of life.”

“Whereas; much can be done to prevent and treat stroke, and rehabilitate those who suffer from one.”

“Whereas; professional and public awareness is the first step to action.”

And, in particular,

 

  • Increase awareness of the public, policymakers, and health professionals about the causes and symptoms of stroke. 
  • Send a unified, consistent message throughout the world by coordinating and enhancing existing stroke campaigns to sustain a global effort.
  • Coordinate the efforts of all disease-oriented organizations working to prevent the rise of tobacco use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet, contribute to stroke, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, cancer and pose a risk for Alzheimer’s disease. 

 

Objectives of the World Stroke Campaign and World Stroke Day

 

  • Raise awareness on the profound and universal impact of stroke on human life and suffering;
  • Increase understanding of the solutions that exist. Prevention is the most readily applicable and affordable part of knowledge. Key actions must be made to encourage healthy environments to support healthy behaviors.
  • Translate knowledge into action. Transdisciplinary teams must be encouraged to develop expertise and translate evidence into practice. Establish simple but comprehensive stroke units. Stroke units have long proven their worth, even in their most basic form.  And, work towards building a healthcare system that responds to the needs of each individual living with the impact of stroke.

Generate a movement that stimulates collective responsibility and action. Families, community-based groups, professional societies, national governments and the international community all need to support the delivery of programs and services to all persons affected by stroke, as well as fight for better access to basic health services.