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 
New WSO member is the first SSO established in Iran: as a powerful movement against stroke Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Rating: 5

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