By Columbus Mabika
There is need for increased efforts by all stakeholders in the fight against stroke as the condition continues to cause disability and premature death, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro has said.
Stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted.
Deputy Minister Mangwiro made the remarks while presiding over the World Stroke Day commemorations in Harare on Monday.
“There is need to increase awareness among communities, health professionals, policy makers, private sector and development partners for the mobilisation of support and resources for prevention, appropriate early management of stroke and rehabilitation, thereby reducing lasting disability and prevent premature death,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He said that the fight against stroke should be given the highest attention by the private sector and development partners especially those in low and middle-income countries where the prevalence of stroke is rapidly rising.
“Public-private partnerships are being encouraged whenever possible in further strengthening national, regional and global response to the stroke epidemic,” he said.
“The public, acting as individuals, voters or advocates, can best influence their own future risk and care.
“Therefore more needs to be done to make this possible,” he added.
Dr Mangwiro said four out of five strokes occur in low and middle income countries — which have the ability to deal with its consequences. He said six million deaths could be averted over the next 10 years if what is already known is applied.
Dr Mangwiro bemoaned the absence of a separate budget for the fight against the disease and the shortage of specialists such as therapists, which was adversely affecting stroke patients in Zimbabwe.
He said Government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care would continue to partner organisations such as the Stroke Organisation of Zimbabwe and Department of Community Medicine on awareness creation, advocacy for resource mobilisation for the early identification and management of stroke.