NEW DELHIL: Strokes, a highly preventable and treatable condition, could lead to nearly 10 million deaths annually by 2050, primarily affecting low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), a report said.

The projection comes from the collaborative effort of the World Stroke Organization and the Lancet Neurology Commission (LNC) under which four studies have been published.

The report published in Lancet Neurology journal said that stroke deaths are expected to surge from 6.6 million in 2020 to 9.7 million by 2050.

The report has emphasised on the critical role of evidence-based, pragmatic solutions in combating the crisis and made 12 recommendations to counter the deaths related to strokes.

Among them are stroke surveillance, prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation.

The report recommended establishing cost-effective surveillance systems for precise epidemiological stroke data to guide prevention and treatment.

It also suggested elevating public awareness and fostering healthier lifestyles through widespread utilisation of mobile and digital technologies, including training and awareness.

It also stressed on prioritising meticulous planning of acute stroke care services, capacity building, training, provisioning of appropriate equipment, treatment, affordable medicines, and allocating adequate resources.

Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Rajiv Bahl said evidence-based stroke care needed to be implemented to mitigate disability and prevent new strokes.

ICMR is actively engaged in crafting country-specific ambulatory care models at the primary care level to combat non-communicable diseases, he said.

“The Government of India is committed towards formulating evidence-based policies and their implementation through the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD),” he added.

A notable success is the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI), which employed tech-driven innovations to digitally monitor over two million patients, achieving real-time blood pressure control in 50 per cent of cases, Bahl said.

Professor Jeyaraj Pandian, President-Elect of the World Stroke Organization and a lead author of the commission, shared that there is a need to scrutinise the factors driving the increase in deaths due to stroke.

Dr Ivy Sebastian, Neurologist and Stroke Fellow in Calgary, Canada, and the lead author of the paper on “Stroke Systems of Care in Southeast Asia,” called for timely interventions such as intravenous thrombolysis, thrombectomy, and stroke unit care delivered through stroke-ready centres.

Dr Yogeshwar Kalkonde, the lead author of the paper “Stroke Surveillance in Southeast Asia”, stated that India’s National Stroke Registry Programme and Thailand’s national database can serve as valuable sources for epidemiological data on strokes.

Dr Prashant Mathur, Director of the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR), ICMR, Bangalore, emphasised on the importance of national hospital-based stroke registries and population-based stroke registries conducted by ICMR across India.

Dr Meenakshi Sharma, Scientist-G at the non-communicable diseases division of ICMR, highlighted the development of stroke care models in India and stressed on the importance of screening and treating high blood pressure, which is being carried out through the India Hypertension Control Initiative.

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