Sunday, October 29, 2017

World Stroke Day 2017 - A Message from our President

Today I am in Moscow where, in partnership with the Russian Ministry for Health, we we have held the first ever World Stroke Day Congress.  This event is just one of hundreds of activities taking place in honour of World Stroke Day. From Singapore to Sao Paolo, events and activities are taking place on the streets and in government buildings to raise awareness of stroke and prevention. This is urgent and necessary work. Every 2 seconds someone in the world has a stroke. We have no time to spare.

In low and middle-income countries stroke has reached epidemic proportions, with evidence showing that younger people are increasingly at risk. This is particularly devastating in these countries where resources for healthcare and social support is scarce.

In high-income countries, where the incidence of strokes has gone down, access to treatments and an ageing population means that - while more people survive – many are living with significant disabilities and long-term support needs. Last year stroke accounted for 116 million years of life lived with disability.

Regardless of age, or where a person lives the impact of stroke on individuals and families is enormous. The pressure on healthcare services and economies is unsustainable. 

We all have good reasons to prevent stroke and the good news is that stroke prevention is possible if we take individual and collective steps. 90% of strokes are linked to just 10 risk factors that we can all do something about. Use today to get informed about risks and prevention and join with us to make sure that stroke gets the attention and resources it deserves. Help us deliver a world free from stroke.

Thank you for being part of World Stroke Day!

Prof Werner Hacke, President, World Stroke Organization







Saturday, October 28, 2017

Get informed about stroke prevention, as stroke can happen to anyone at any age!

At age 51, Mike Williams began experiencing a headache and dizziness while at his home. 
He passed out and woke to remember being put into an ambulance.  At the time, he had no idea he was having a stroke.  

His wife, who was home with him, called for medical attention.  Neither one of them knew just how much their lives would change following that day.  In the days leading up to his stroke, Mike worked 12 hour shifts and spent most of his free time tinkering with his truck, riding his four-wheeler, and doing yard work.  He loved the outdoors, but now has to spend most of his time inside.  He had significant difficulty with his speech following the stroke, and still often experiences dizziness.  Mike's daily activities were hindered by the deficits found in his feet and hands, and continue to hinder him by his fear of falling due to his inability to walk straight.  

The most significant loss according to Mike is his balance.  He rarely went anywhere alone, and quickly became dependent on his wife who quit her job to become his caregiver.  Initially, Mike was reluctant to see his friends and co-workers.  He didn't want to talk to others, as he felt "they could not understand him."  He recalls his best friend continued to be there for he and his wife, despite his reluctance to be seen.  This friend also offered respite for his wife, which provided her opportunities of relief from the daily tasks and stressors of being a caregiver.  Mike's stroke also greatly affected his daughters, his mother and his sister.  

Despite the impacts, Mike says their relationships have survived this obstacle and have grown even stronger from it.  Mike is able to positively reflect on how this experience has strengthened his relationship with his wife too; he shares that it has opened doors of communication for them.  Prior to his stroke, Mike had not known of any other individuals around him having strokes.  He had high blood pressure, but was unaware of how this could increase his risk for stroke.  

During his recovery, Mike was determined to learn more about stroke and prevention.  He was provided information from the rehabilitation center where he received treatment.  He reports paying more attention to signs from his body now, such as not ignoring headaches.  To continue his prevention methods, Mike is seen regularly by doctors and encourages others to do the same.  He also encourages others to inform themselves about stroke, warning signs, and prevention methods specific to them, as stroke can happen to anyone at any age!

Picture credit: Paul Olsen 
Story source: http://youngstroke.org/

NEWS RELEASE World Stroke Day 2017


New Global Disability Figures Spur WSO Call for Urgent Action on Stroke Prevention


The World Stroke Organization, a membership organization representing over 55,000 professionals and many more stroke patients worldwide, has today called for urgent action to prevent stroke. The call, made in advance of World Stroke Day on the 29th October, comes in response to new data that shows stroke was responsible for over 116 million years of life lived with disability (YLD) worldwide in 2016. This adds to existing global mortality data that positions stroke as the second largest cause of death.

There are an estimated 17 million strokes worldwide each year.  While stroke incidence and mortality rates in high income countries have been on the decline, progress is still slow and uneven. There are also indications that the risk factors for stroke such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and smoking are becoming increasingly prevalent in both high and low-income countries. This has the potential to further slow progress on stroke prevention.

WSO President Werner Hacke said ‘In many low-to-middle income countries stroke has reached epidemic proportions. In these countries, the capacity of health and social care systems to provide treatment and the long-term support that stroke survivors and their families need is also limited. This has disastrous effects on individuals, families as well as on economic development.’ 

Professor Hacke continued ‘On World Stroke Day 2017 our members are sending out a global message that stroke is preventable and that we all have good reasons to prevent it. We know that 90% of strokes are associated with just 10 risk factors that we can all do something about. Addressing these risk factors would not just have a major impact on stroke, they would also prevent deaths from other non-communicable diseases. Giving urgent priority to prevention now will yield obvious benefits in terms of reduced human, social and economic costs.’

The World Stroke Organization has called on governments to implement population wide prevention strategies; remove financial barriers to prevention screening; develop regional and national strategies to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by 30% by 2030.



World Stroke Day is being commemorated at events worldwide on 29th October 2017. More information can be found on the campaign website

Join the conversation #WorldStrokeDay

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Always believe when something doesn't feel right as "...life can change in a second"

Battling medical issues since birth, Meredith Harper and her family knew of general health
risks, but always believed strokes to only impact the elderly population. 

Meredith was a pre-med student who had completed an internship and given presentations on heart and stroke health.  She has always had a gift for helping and caring for others, and even wrote a short book for stroke survivors which included information and exercises for recovery.  

At the shocking age of 22, Meredith experienced her first stroke.  She had been in the emergency room four times prior to this day with Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA), but the medical professionals dismissed further concern due to her young age.  Her first stroke was brought on by a clot after experiencing arrhythmia.  Meredith experienced this stroke while she was home from college on Christmas Break; fortunately she was with family who knew what was happening and brought her to the hospital immediately.  Meredith reported feeling as if her head was swollen prior to this, and was unable to speak when the stroke occurred.  She had major weakness on the right side of her body, and displayed drooping in her face.  

Due to the significant impact the stroke had on her, Meredith's "life changed drastically."  For the second time in her life, Meredith had to learn how to read, write, walk and talk again.  She was no longer the athlete she had poured much of her time and energy into during previous years of her life.  Some of her friends and family members even had difficulty handling the ways in which the stroke changed Meredith's life.  According to her mother, who became her main caregiver, Meredith faced this incident as she had with other challenges in her life: she didn't let it hold her back.  Her mother remembers, "she was determined to get better as fast as possible."  She had new limits to accept, but Meredith was able to defy the odds and went back to school to graduate just two years later!  

Decision making and task completion often took her longer than they used to, and she was unable to return to some of her favourite activities, but her positivity and determination pushed her along the path of recovery.  She was overseen by a stroke team following the incident, and knew to be mindful of any changes in her body which didn't seem right.  Family members were Meredith's best advocates, and they stress the importance of pushing doctors and other medical staff by asking questions to become as knowledgeable as possible.  They recall how difficult it was to obtain information related to stroke in young individuals, and reflect on how lives can be saved by spreading awareness.  

The best advice Meredith and her family pass along to others is to always believe when something doesn't feel right, and to never take anything for granted, as they have learned firsthand "...life can change in a second."


Picture credit: Paul Olsen 
Story source: http://youngstroke.org/

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

My reason to prevent stroke is because it's possible!

Prof. Wang ShaoShi is the leader of the SSO Red Bracelet organization in China, Director of Neurology Department and Stroke Center Shanghai First People's Hospital, and Director of Stroke Care Academy(SCA) of China.


Who is volunteering with the Red Bracelet organization? 
There are around 23,000 registered Red Bracelet volunteers all over China from 800 hospitals. 40-50% of the volunteers are doctors, 30% are nurses, and the remainder are from companies or are caregivers. They raise awareness of stroke and the risk factors at public events across the country.

Can you tell us a little about the Stroke Care Academy (SCA)?
The SCA was just started this year (2017), I lead this academy, and it is sponsored by Boehringer-Ingelheim. This academy is aiming at the education of doctors. As some of the medical students are Red Bracelet volunteers, we are training them for free. The modules are focused on acute management,secondary prevention and rehabilitation.

In China, we are just starting to understand the scope of rehabilitation, so doctors haven't got the real meaning of  rehabilitation and its need, such as supporting patients with dysphagia. However, we are educating them and training them with the experience from overseas such as the United Kingdom. Doctors will pay more attention in acute treatment, and in the long term we need to give attention to rehabilitation and recovery. We need to continue to think about how we might include long term stroke support in the SCA. 

For the World Stroke Campaign this year, the focus is prevention, what is your reason to prevent stroke?
In China especially, the concept of stroke prevention is very important, the public is not aware of this disease, they don't even know that stroke is preventable.

My reason is firstly because prevention is possible! Secondly, Chinese citizens don't know how to prevent stroke, and given the incidence and prevalence in this vast country we have to prevent strokes from happening in the first place.

For more about stroke prevention visit www.worldstrokecampaign.org 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Welcome to new SSO member Stroke Support Group Pretoria

Stroke Support Group Pretoria is a social support group catering to the needs of people who have had strokes or brain injuries. They are situated in the Eastern suburbs of Pretoria, South Africa and offer emotional support to those who are struggling to cope with their changed lives, as members have all experienced what they are going through.

No matter what our age, we all have to take measures to prevent stroke

Timothy Kalule is an occupational therapist from Uganda.

What has inspired you to be involved in stroke support?
As an occupational therapist I have noticed the high prevalence of stroke and that people in our community do not understand it. They always think they have been bewitched. So, sensitizing them and helping them realize the potential of performing tasks after surviving stroke is key. Also the research we did here in Uganda by the Karolinska Institutet of which I was a research assistant “Use of phones to treat post-stroke survivors in Uganda” by Julius Kamwesiga, Susanne Guidetti and Gunilla Ericsson enabled me get much more inspired to help post-stroke survivors live a better life with self management.

The Canadian Stroke Congress 2017: shaping the future direction of stroke


 Hundreds of stroke experts from Canada and around the world converged in Calgary, Canada in September for the Canadian Stroke Congress. Co-hosted by Heart & Stroke and the Canadian Stroke Consortium, the Congress gave a first-hand look at emerging research findings and the best-practices which have true potential to become tomorrow’s prevention and treatment strategies. This unique opportunity to meet and hear from an exceptional line-up of national and international leaders helps set the future directions for how we think about and treat stroke.
Highlights from this year include:

Geneviève





Stroke and pregnancy: The last thing you expect to happen when you’re pregnant is to have a stroke. A new Heart & Stroke study featured at the Congress revealed that stroke in women during pregnancy is three times higher than stroke in non-pregnant woman of the same age. The study’s team also released a medical consensus statement with management considerations for healthcare professionals in treating woman with stroke prior to, during, and right after pregnancyGeneviève was six months pregnant when she had a stroke. Read her story HERE

Friday, October 20, 2017

WSO welcomes SSO for Sri Lankans as new member

The Stroke Support Organization for Sri Lankans has become the latest SSO member of WSO.




Founder, Dr Padma Gunaratne tells us why membership of WSO is so important:


'I have been an active individual member of the WSO since its inception. I have observed how WSO influences and strategically prioritizes issues in relation to stroke for the benefit of stroke survivors and also for prevention. I think promotion of the establishment of stroke support organizations is one such area of WSO activity for the benefit of stroke care. Though it is difficult to establish an organization and to keep going for the stroke community with a wide range of needs, Stroke Support Organizations are marvellous in addressing the long term needs of stroke survivors and care givers. 

Getting ahead of the curve by tackling childhood obesity

In response to a recent Lancet article which records a tenfold increase in childhood obesity and projects that more children will be obese than underweight by 2022, the World Stroke Organization is adding its voice to those of partners in the field of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to urge action by governments and health service providers, insurers and communities to prioritise and invest in obesity prevention. 

WSO has a clear stake in tackling obesity, around one out of every five strokes are linked to obesity.  Addressing this health issue has the potential to save 1.3 million lives lost to obesity related stroke and many more from other NCDs such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

While individual actions to address life-style risks can play a critical role in reducing risks of obesity, stroke and other non-communicable diseases there is clearly much more that can be done by governments to make it easier to make healthy lifestyle choices. 

Tenfold increase in childhood and adolescent obesity in four decades: new study by Imperial College London and WHO

The world will have more obese children and adolescents than underweight by 2022

The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022, according to a new study led by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The study was published in The Lancet ahead of World Obesity Day (11 October). It analysed weight and height measurements from nearly 130 million people aged over five years (31.5 million people aged five to 19, and 97.4 million aged 20 and older), making it the largest ever number of participants involved in an epidemiological study. More than 1000 contributors participated in the study, which looked at body mass index (BMI) and how obesity has changed worldwide from 1975 to 2016.

United in Prevention - announcing the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health

The World Stroke Organization is proud to announce our active participation in the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health launched on 18th October 2017. The Coalition brings together professional organisations and people living with and affected by circulatory diseases, to advocate for international and national actions to prevent and control circulatory diseases many of which contribute to stroke.


Here, David Wood, President of the World Heart Federation highlights the need turn 'what we know' into 'what we do' in relation to public health prevention and health system strengthening.
Circulatory diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the leading cause of death and disability in the world, killing around 17.7 million people a year. This means it is responsible for a third of all deaths on the planet and numbers are set to rise, to an estimated 23 million by 2030.

It is a terrible burden on our society, felt even more keenly in low- and middle-income countries where factors such as rapid urbanization, tobacco use and obesity are an increasing drain on national health systems.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Larry's experience shows us that we can never be complacent about preventing strokes

Larry White, a Chronic Disease Manager for the South Carolina Department of Health and
Environmental Health, was teaching a program named "Power to End Stroke" and felt very knowledgeable on the subject at the time of his Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).

His father had passed from strokes, and his grandmother suffered from heart disease.  He knew about strokes from several different perspectives, and he knew he was at risk as far as his family history was concerned.  His first hand experience taught him more than he had ever learned though.  

He remembers missing signs from the day before he had the TIA, and even didn't take the symptoms he experienced seriously, as he now realizes he should have.  Larry was driving when this began, and he realized he was unable to stop his vehicle at a red light.  He utilized his other foot to do so, and knew he needed to call the doctor.  Ignoring the recording "If this is an emergency, hang up and call 911" on the answering machine of the doctor's office, he left a message and carried on with his day.  

Carrying on with his day included going to work meetings and "doing everything the doc asked me not to do" before driving himself to the hospital.  In fact, Larry says he wouldn't have paid any further attention to the symptoms had his doctor not instructed him to go to the emergency room.  This was because while he knew something was wrong, he did not realize he was experiencing stroke symptoms.  He was hospitalized for three days for a TIA.  

After returning home from the hospital, Larry was out of work for a few days but was then able to return to everything he was doing prior to this attack.  This included his career as a Chronic Disease Manager, and engulfing himself as an advocate for several causes around his community.  Larry reports being in good health overall prior to the TIA, and attended routine doctor visits.  He now continues a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy diet and walking twice daily, and he does not hesitate to go to his doctor when he feels uneasy.  Using his "real life testimony" to his advantage, Larry finds his audiences are more engaged in his training sessions.  

As someone who has devoted his life to supporting others in his community, he is happy to hear individuals share their experiences or those of family members so openly with him.  In reflecting on his knowledge of stroke prior to his own encounter, Larry says, "I do wish that someone had told me that some strokes are silent and painless, while others can be devastating and debilitating."  This information is now something he never leaves out of his educational sessions!

Find out more about stroke prevention at www.worldstrokecampaign.org

Picture credit: Paul Olsen 
Story source: http://youngstroke.org/

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Business as usual not an option for addressing NCDs

Government and NGO leaders from around the world are today convened in Montevideo, Uruguay for the WHO Global Conference on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

The conference which will run until the 20th October, has been called in the face of slow progress towards global targets to reduce NCDs by 30% by 2030.

The World Stroke Organisation will be represented in Montevideo by Board Member Sheila Martins, who will add WSOs voice to the call for governments to stand by their commitments to SDG3 by addressing the policy and investment issues which are slowing progress on disease reduction.

There are fundamental conditions associated with all NCDs such as poverty, education, environment, human rights and strength of health systems which urgently need to be addressed. Along with our NCD Alliance partners we will be advocating for the development of coherent public health policies and health systems investments that will underpin prevention and improved and more equitable outcomes for stroke patients globally.

Our key message to governments is that urgent action is required to prevent stroke and other NCDs which limit human potential and financial resources available to support healthy communities. 90% of strokes are associated
with 10 modifiable risk factors that, if addressed, would support reduction of Alzheimers, heart disease, hypertension, cancers and diabetes all of which post major challenges to national and global health systems and economies. The time to act is now.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New WSO member is the first SSO established in Iran: as a powerful movement against stroke

Dr Mehdi Farhoudi, member of the World Stroke Organization SSO Committee, tells us the exciting news about the establishment of the first SSO in Iran.


When was Stroke Support Organization-East Azerbaijan (SSO-EA) established?
Stroke Support Organization-East Azerbaijan (SSO-EA) was established in July 2017 and nationally registered.

What is the context for stroke care in Iran?
Stroke, as a leading cause of mortality, affects the large population in Iran of 75 million people. Stroke incidence has been increasing, while the age of stroke onset is dropping. Crude stroke prevalence is estimated to be about 150 per 100,000. Despite many limitations, intravenous thrombolysis of eligible stroke patients has been provided in some universities and private hospitals since 2008. Then Tabriz University of Medical Sciences established a multidisciplinary stroke team to start systematic thrombolysis in eligible stroke patients in 2010. After the 6th National Stroke Congress 2013 statement, a WSO endorsed meeting, and continuous and effective follow-up of Iranian Stroke Association and Iranian Neurological Society, the Iranian Ministry of Health identified stroke as a health crisis and the second cause of mortality. In 2015 the Ministry created the National Stroke Committee to improve the situation of stroke patients. The characteristics of primary and comprehensive stroke care units were defined. This led to the decrease of the cost of the tPA drug and the cost being covered by the insurance system. The Committee planned a road map to organize a network of stroke treatment in the country. The characteristics of primary and comprehensive stroke care units in 724 hospitals were defined; covering a population of at least 300,000. Fifty four hospitals have been candidates in the first phase and the modalities and guidelines for primary stroke unit were defined for them. Meanwhile there was a plan for  a pre-hospital emergency system to increase knowledge about stroke, upgrade systems to transfer patients and to establish comprehensive stroke units. Hopefully, Iran is going to make major progress in thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy of acute ischemic stroke to cover more eligible patients. We estimate that the thrombolytic therapy rate could increase up to 5% in the next 5 years.

What motivated you to start the organization?
Considering the high burden of stroke and necessity for many facilities, programs and for continuous public activities, we concluded that we need a more powerful movement against stroke. Given the limitation of government-based support, we decided to establish a stroke support organization in our province to get more benefit for the people and secure charitable contributions for fighting strongly against stroke in our region and country.

Is this the only stroke support organization in Iran?
Right now Stroke Support Organization of East Azerbaijan (SSO-EA) is the first registered one in Iran. We hope to establish and develop other SSOs in Iran soon.

What are the goals/priorities of the organization?
1- Public awareness and promotion of people and patients lifestyle to control stroke risk factors leading to primary prevention of stroke
2- Public awareness about acute stroke symptoms and signs for immediate and timely referral to eligible hospitals for preventing and decreasing probable complications (secondary prevention)
3- Support to promote diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke patients
4- Support for better care and rehabilitation of stroke patients
5- Support for better outpatient management
6- Detect stoke patients problems and attempt to solve them
7- Support research about the detected problems and stroke related priorities 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WSO welcomes new SSO member the Helderberg Stroke Support Group

The Helderberg Stroke Support Group (HSSG) has been involved in assisting stroke
survivors and their families in the Helderberg Basin, South Africa for over 21 years.

The HSSG says that it's important that we use the words "stroke survivor" in preference to the much used words "stroke victim". This is out of respect to the wishes of members of the organisation, who have indicated that they wish to be known as "survivors". 

The main focus of the HSSG is on rehabilitation for stroke survivors and stroke prevention training for home based carers, nursing staff and people interested in assisting stroke survivors in their communities.


The HSSG recognizes that "rehabilitation also encompasses the protection of human rights, equalisation of opportunities and the removal of both attitudinal and architectural barriers. Equalization of opportunities means that health and social services, transport, housing, education, employment opportunities and recreational and sports facilities must be accessible to everyone" (United Nations, 2002). HSSG will endeavour to strive towards the achievement of this goal.   

HSSG highlights that every day in South Africa approximately 360 people have a stroke (Boehringer Ingelheim, n.d.a) and that stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the country. Many stroke survivors are left with permanent physical disabilities and cognitive impairments requiring extended hospitalization, nursing, home care and rehabilitation. 'That is why World Stroke Day on 29 October is so important in raising awareness of stroke and the risk factors for stroke,' says HSSG Chairperson Marian Engelbrecht.



Monday, October 9, 2017

Stroke Association of Kenya's exciting plans for World Stroke Day 2017

We spoke with the team at Stroke Association of Kenya about their plans for World Stroke Day 2017. Edward Konzolo - the Organizing Secretary, Florence Nduati- the Treasurer, Prof. Grace Ochodo - the Secretary General, Dr. Evans Nyambega - Chairman and Cornelius Sayi - Administrator.


Tell us about why you are holding a World Stroke Day event? 
There is increasing prevalence of stroke in Kenya, so we want to raise awareness in order for people to mitigate this. Strokes are happening across the country in both rural and urban areas – so this is a challenge and we want to raise awareness across the country. We cannot assume because people live in urban areas that they have more knowledge; many people do not understand the concept of stroke and if they feel unwell many people assume it is malaria or other well-known illnesses that they have awareness of. 

We want to change the situation so that people know what the stroke symptoms are and to know what action to take when they see or experience such symptoms.

Our government are not putting much emphasis on stroke, so we want to change this and to get them to collaborate with us.

We also want to change the way stroke emergency is handled so that we can have standardized emergency response.

Availability of timely, affordable quality medical care and rehabilitation for stroke attacks is also our priority area for change. 

What do you want your World Stroke Day event to achieve? 
In the short term we want to increase awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of stroke, and then what action to take. We aim to screen 1,000 people at our World Stroke Day event and advise them on the action they need to take.

In the long term, by engaging with decision makers now we want to make sure that the Stroke Association of Kenya is included in policy making activities to ensure that the policy environment supports stroke prevention and rehabilitation for survivors.

How are you planning your World Stroke Day event?
We started planning in August by calling many of the non-communicable disease (NCD) players in the country together. This has included Amres Health Africa, Medecins sans Frontieres, Ministry of Health Kenya, Nairobi County Government, African Institute for Health and Development. We have discussed which activity each organization can take the lead on and what equipment they can bring. We hold the meetings every Tuesday to discuss what we want to do on the day, the budget, and roles and responsibilities.


We will screen 1,000 people for blood pressure, BMI and blood sugar. Through this screening we will discuss the risk factors for stroke and the action that should be taken.
We will conduct a street procession so that as many people as possible can see us. We want to be visible. We will also have testimonies by survivors and care givers in order to ensure that the voices of stroke survivors are heard and so that the human face of stroke is seen. We will distribute flyers about stroke so that people have something to take home to keep and to refer to. We will have an award ceremony for stroke friendly organisations. This is to encourage employers to treat stroke survivors with respect and dignity. We what to promote the view that  stroke does not have to be the end of employment; as many stroke survivors and their families are pushed into poverty when they are laid off from work and cannot find employment.


We will distribute assistance devices to those who need them as we recognise that many people have very practical needs and we want to support peoples’ quality of life. Also to be distributed is equipment to enhance economic empowerment for survivors who are able to use them, such as welding and sewing machines. 

We are already doing media interviews on radio and television in the run up to World Stroke Day. We recognise the need to promote our activity as far as we can using communication channels. In Kenya community radio is really accessible and popular so we know that we can reach many people this way. We are also using social media platforms in order to reach as many people as possible.

What resources do you have to help you deliver the World Stroke Day event?
We have mobilised a lot of volunteers through the universities in Nairobi. We have the involvement of public health students from Kenyatta University and volunteers from Kenya Medical training college. We have also engaged community health volunteers who are in every village. Stroke survivors, who are our members, have also appeared on various media platforms for purposes of sharing their experiences. 

Our major challenge is funding, not just for World Stroke Day but for the functioning of the Stroke Association of Kenya, so continuing any work is a major challenge. We are appealing for financial help and we are applying for grants in order to ensure the proper realisation of our goals. We are fortunate that our partners are supporting the budget for World Stroke Day.


The other organisations that are collaborating with us are providing materials to help with the campaign event. Each collaborator brings something according to its own specialisation. The Ministry of Health is supporting the printing of leaflets. Volunteers will assist in the screening and data collection.

How do you ensure that you learn from and build on World Stroke Day events?
This will be the third World Stroke Day event that we have run. Each year there are new challenges including securing funding, attracting volunteers, getting survivors from where they live to the event activity. However our partners have increased and this gives us the additional support that we need. We also recognise that we cannot just be in the city centre, we need to get out to the suburbs. 


The stroke award for a friendly organization is something new and we hope to have this as an annual event so that organizations will be able to compete for this.

We shall have a data collection and a monitoring tool which will be filled in with details of everyone screened. This will inform our final evaluation report which will be compiled after the event. People enquiring about our activities continue to call in during and after media appearances and this is an indication of the impact of our activities. Membership will also increase as more survivors will come out to register as has been in the past. We hope to find partners to continue assisting our programs because they will get to know of our existence and learn more of what we are engaged in. The Government has been of immense assistance in terms of human resources and we hope to get more assistance for our programs in terms of funding. There is already increased partner interest and we hope to get more partners to know and support our activities. 

Follow Stroke Association on twitter @saokenya1 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

My reason for preventing stroke? Knowing it can happen to anyone if you don't take care of yourself


My reason for preventing stroke by Nenad Nikolić - I am 35 years old and have seen people younger than me who have had stroke - we all need to take all stroke risk seriously!

My name is Nenad Nikolić. I want to share my personal reason for preventing stroke.

My mom suffered a sudden stroke in 2008, when she was age 49. I remember it was Friday 6th June, we were watching TV, when she suddenly lay down in bed, and couldn't get up, and started to talk some unrecognisable words. We tried to put her in a seated position , but she couldn’t do it. Luckily i work in hospital in a Neurology department in my town, so I recognised stroke symptoms quickly and reacted immediately.

As a survivor and a clinician I know that strokes can be prevented

Alexander Kortsiaris is President of HAS - the Greek Stroke Association, here he shares his experience of stroke and highlights the benefits of annual health checks and following a Mediterranean diet.

My reason for preventing stroke? We are born to be happy!

I’m Madalena Viana from Portugal and unfortunately I have in my care, two very close family members that are stroke victims.

The first one was my husband, Manuel Viana, in 2007, who was 60 years old when he suffered a haemorrhagic stroke.

My reason for preventing stroke? My family of course. Everything else can be replaced.

Ifigenia Tsolakidou is a stroke survivor and member of HAS - the Greek Stroke Association. Here she describes how life has changed since stroke and the steps she takes to reduce her risk and that of her family.

Stroke doesn't choose ages, races or religion - it can happen to anyone.

António Célio Ramos is 43 years old and key-account manager of a large national beverage company. He also cares for stroke survivor Diana Wong Ramos, his wife and is a member of the Portuguese Stroke Association.

My reason for preventing stroke? Spending an hour a day to take care of your health could prevent years of disease.



Jasmine Cvetkoska is 49 and from Ohrid  Macedonia. Surviving heart surgery didn't slow her down, but not recognising the risk factors of stroke that came with her condition contributed to a life changing stroke. Here she describes the impact on her life and why we should all slow down and take better care of ourselves.

My reason for preventing stroke? We could use the money we spend on stroke to improve our community

Margret G Sigurdardottir from Iceland is a carer. Since her husband's stroke she has worked to inform herself and others of the importance of stroke prevention.

Before the stroke did you have any idea that your loved one was at risk of stroke?
My husband had a stroke twelve years ago and was completely paralyzed on the right side. I had no idea before this shock, that he was in any risk category.

When and how did you realise that your husband was having a stroke?
When he was going to swim one morning, he did not fell well and he thought he had a flu. But I noticed that he was not normal and I saw that he was all pink and the sweat popped from him, then I called the emergency line.

Can you tell us a bit about your lives before and after stroke?
We have lived together for more than 20 years and we have one son. I myself are in good health. I am in permanent employment, a deputy head of a large transport company and he in the public sector.  We are financially secure, but the stroke came like a thunderstorm, but fortunately, it did not hurt our family life very much.

Since my husband's stroke, I have studied better the risk factors of stroke for myself, following my experience of my husband and warning others of risks.

What steps do you take now to prevent stroke? How are you working to reduce your specific risks?
I have set my boundaries to raise more awareness of my colleagues and partners on the risk of stroke.

What would you say to other people to make them take stroke prevention seriously?
You can replace almost all organs throughout your body, but there is nothing you can do if your brain collapses!

What is your main reason for raising awareness of stroke prevention?

Major consequences of stroke in the community.  Save money so they can be used to those who need them most!

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🎧Peter Knapp on the 📻Frequency of #anxiety after #stroke

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