Stroke: Minister alerts Nigerians on sedentary, lifestyles as risk factors

ABUJA (Health Ministry’ Report) – The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has decried the rate at which Nigerians are coming down with stroke describing it as all time high, saying it is as a result of rapid globalisation and urbanisation thus imposing new lifestyles and risky behaviours such as tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, increased patronage of fast food outlets and sedentary life styles leading to obesity.

The Minister who was represented by the Ministry’s Chief Epediomologist, Dr.Sani Gwarzo gave this warning in Abuja recently at the 5th Nigeria Stroke Assembly, as part of the activities to commemorate the 2016 World Stroke Day.

He noted that such unhealthy behaviours predispose one to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and stroke adding that the disease contributes significantly to adult morbidity and mortality as a result imposing a heavy socio-economic burden on individuals, societies and the entire health system.

He stressed that stroke affects the highly productive populations, aggravating poverty and amplifying social inequality, hinting that the estimated mortality from stroke in Nigeria is 40-50% within the first 3 months of diagnostics.

Prof. Adewole pointed out that a facility-based study showed that 39% of those who survived stroke after 3 months died within 12 months and 12% developed severe disability.

He reaffirmed that it was in recognition of the nature, magnitude and severity of NCDs, including stroke and challenges posed by these diseases that the Federal Ministry of Health established the NCDs control programme in 1989 with the mandate to serve as the arrow head of the response to NCDs in Nigeria.

The Federal Ministry of Health, he said has been able to carry out some strategic programmes to mitigate the adverse effects of the major NCDs including stroke in Nigeria.

While assuring that Government would continue to show full commitment to the management of stroke and NCDs in Nigeria, he said that there was need to synergize efforts in reducing the incidence of stroke and improve the management and care for people with stroke.

He however urged development partners, the private sector, Pharmaceutical Industries, Civil Society Organisations, the Media, traditional, religious and opinion leaders to work hand in hand in supporting the Government for the successful prevention and management of stroke and other NCDs in Nigeria.

In his paper presentation, titled: “Stroke Management in Nigeria”, Prof.Sunday Bwala, Chief Consultant Neurologist, National Hospital, Abuja, explained that stroke is a cardiovascular disease which causes sudden loss of power, the second leading cause of death and disability globally adding that it affects both the young and old.

He allayed fear that though the disease is preventable and treatable, he said there was need for increased awareness on the disease.

Also speaking, the Team Leader for Stroke Ambassadors, Stroke Action Nigeria, Mrs. Florence Mbogu, while calling on the Federal Ministry of Health to create a Stroke awareness Unit in the Ministry to raise awareness on the disease, called on well spirited individuals and partners to support her organisation in order to reach out to the stroke patients.