Stroke Leaders Highlight Global Cost of Government Inaction




Today on World Stroke Day, October 29, the World Stroke Organization, is calling for urgent action and investment to address the growing burden of stroke and circulatory diseases globally. 

Highlighting the disappointing outcome of the recent UN High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) the WSO President, Prof Michaeal Brainin said, ‘The impact of stroke on individuals, families and society as a whole is devastating. Stroke survivors can face significant impairment of movement, speech, cognition alongside debilitating psychological, social and financial problems.'

'This devastation is compounded by knowing that 80% of strokes could be prevented by addressing a small number of risk factors, including hypertension, diet, smoking and exercise. Preventive action on stroke would also contribute to a massive scale reduction in CVD, cancer, diabetes and other significant causes of death and suffering worldwide.

'With this knowledge, the current lack of political will and investment is incomprehensible, especially given the costs of such inaction. While 5.5 million people die as a result of stroke each year, 80 million survivors around the world currently live with some form of disability or impairment. The costs to individuals is incalculable and the cost to society is astronomical.’


A recent policy document ‘Driving Sustainable Action for Circulatory Health’ published by the WSO and its partners in the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health, has calculated the global cost of circulatory diseases, including stroke, at US$957 Billion in 2015. On current projections this figure is set to rise to US$1044 Billion in the next 12 years.

The white paper sets out four key areas for action that, if enacted, would ensure delivery of global goals on disease reduction which are driving the rise in direct and indirect costs of NCDs. These include legislative interventions to:


1. Deliver policies and programmes to address tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy foods, promote clean air and deliver a built environment which fosters safe physical activity.

2. Ensure access to affordable, quality-assured essential medicines, delivered by adequately trained staff, including access to multi-therapy treatments.

3. Mobilise sufficient resources to combat non-communicable diseases including stroke. The taxation of unhealthy products such as alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages (such as sugar-sweetened beverages) would generate revenues that could be directed to further prevention and control of circulatory diseases at global and national levels.

4. Put in place reliable, simple, and fit-for- purpose surveillance systems for monitoring the burden of stroke and the prevalence of NCD risk factors and treatment of stroke at national and global levels.


Prof Brainin concluded 'At the recent UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in New York, governments delivered a weak response to a global crisis and agreed to wait 7 years before reviewing progress. In that time another 38.5 million people will die of stroke. We can't wait until 2025 to calculate our losses, we need strong leadership and bold action to save lives now.'

Stroke Leaders Highlight Global Cost of Government Inaction Reviewed by Anita Wiseman on Sunday, October 28, 2018 Rating: 5

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