Spreading the message of stroke awareness and support in Eastern India and Bangladesh

The renowned artist and popular Bengali writer, Debabrata Chakraborty, talked with Professor Dipes Kumar Mandal of the Stroke Foundation of Bengal, a World Stroke Organization SSO Member. Their conversation appeared as an article in the Dainik Stateman Newspaper in March 2018, reaching a large section of the 300 million Bengali-speaking people of Eastern India and Bangladesh. Here we share extracts from the article.

'I was born in a remote village called Nayachak, in West Bengal. I aspired to be an engineer but ended up becoming a doctor. I was initially  admitted to an engineering course but I was later admitted to the Medical College, Calcutta where decades later I became the Head of the Department of Neurology’ reminisces Professor (Dr.) Dipes Kumar Mandal, my next door neighbour. We got engrossed in such friendly chatter sitting in his ground floor clinic in our housing complex. Today, being Sunday his patients would start queuing up a little later than usual.

'The need to provide service to the rural people always occupied my mind. However I felt that the  horizon of  work needed to be expanded. I pondered about involving a wider section of society, reaching out to them with the message of health awareness as well as medical treatment. Stroke kills many but many more may survive to be paralysed.We read the text books saying that stroke afflicts people mostly around 70 years of age. However in our country stroke strikes people between 40 - 60 years. Stroke or brain attack is an important  and devastating disease of the brain. Devastation is either in the form of death or disability. I therefore started the Stroke Foundation of Bengal in 2006'. 

'Does your Foundation provide awareness as well as treatment?' I quizzed Dr. Mandal. He replied ' Those with high blood pressure should consume less salt, take daily exercise, and maintain a healthy body weight. Tobacco consumption is to be stopped totally. Alcohol  should be restricted. Check your blood pressure regularly. If your blood cholesterol is high consult your doctor and take medicines. If you follow these rules you will prevent, not only stroke but also heart attacks'. 90% of strokes are linked to ten key risk factors. 

I had drawn up a delicious  menu of mutton for lunch today…that mutton which I managed to buy after walking miles to the CK market and making a beeline behind scores of people eagerly waiting for their turn, Dr.Mandal’s warnings aroused me again 'eat right, maintain a healthy body-mass index. Do not put on weight. Another important fact is that low income and lack of education are related to the incidence of stroke.Government policies to eradicate poverty,  provide better education and health facilities to the public will play a positive role to reduce the burden of stroke and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs)'.

I was  mentally making up a list of things to give up to make my life healthy. Dr. Mandal laughed 'life will be more beautiful if you follow these rules. I have already emphasized that stroke is preventable as well as treatable through  Awareness, Access and Action. For this measures need to be adopted. We have brought out the Stroke Riskometer app in Bengali which will inform you about your stroke risk factors and the preventive strategies. Stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is hampered. Brain cells are damaged and later die without proper blood supply to maintain the nutrition. Stroke symptoms depend upon the area of the brain affected and could range from paralysis of limbs, speech problems, even problems in thinking, memory and emotions. 17 million people are affected every year all over the world of which 6 million die and there are 26 million stroke survivors. Stroke may affect anyone and at any age'.

Albeit, at the end of this day I have been enlightened through this friendly gossip with my neighbour. A spirit of awareness has been generated inside me. Truly, these hard facts had to be known. 

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Spreading the message of stroke awareness and support in Eastern India and Bangladesh Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Anyone at anytime from anywhere in any capacity may join in the fight against Devastating Stroke through Global Stroke Awareness Campaign.
    Our slogan is: One World and One Voice


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