Over the past few years, non-communicable diseases have emerged as the biggest threat to public health in India. According to a recent study published by The Lancet Global Health, the contribution of neurological non-communicable diseases such as stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, etc. has increased in India from disability-adjusted life-years to 8.2% in 2019 (DALYs).
Stroke – A growing cause for concern in India
The Lancet Global Health Studio reports that among the various neurological disorders, 699,000 died in 2019 as a result of a stroke. Stroke is a major cause of disability in India. Symptoms include numbness or weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, vision problems, and difficulty walking or loss of coordination. Various biological and lifestyle factors can cause stroke, but some risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, etc. can increase the chances of it happening. Indeed, work-related stress, sleep disorders, and fatigue, which are not considered traditional causes, can also increase the risk of stroke. Stroke is mainly caused by a blockage in the blood supply to the brain or a rupture of a blood vessel, which results in the death of brain cells. An inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain can cause serious damage. Thus, timely diagnosis and intervention of stroke are required.
Addressing the neurological NCD burden in India
We need to build awareness and start education activities to build a strong healthcare structure to address the burden of NCDs in India – especially neurological disorders. Increasing awareness of various disorders can help manage and treat them, and sometimes even prevent them from occurring. Especially for diseases like stroke, creating consistent awareness including prevention measures, timely detection, and diagnosis and treatment can help save lives. In the case of acute ischemic stroke, delayed detection of symptoms and late treatment can increase the risk of disability or death, thus making knowledge sharing more important. The next important step is to ensure timely treatment and availability of care. In the case of a stroke, it is essential to bring the patient to a stroke-ready hospital immediately, thus facilitating treatment within a ‘golden period of 4.5 hours.
In an effort to recognize the need for proper care for stroke, the government launched the National Program for Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke Prevention and Control (NPCDCS) in 2010, focusing on strengthening healthcare infrastructure to facilitate early diagnosis. , Management, and referrals. A stroke-ready facility includes the availability of a neurologist, CT scanning and MRI facility, and access to thrombolytic treatment for stroke patients.
Public-private partnership to strengthen healthcare to address neurological disorders
One of the key elements in tackling the growing incidence of neurological disorders is public-private partnership (PPP), which helps the general public to access much-needed healthcare facilities. The PPP structure has the potential to provide long-term sustainable models for Indian healthcare and provide accessible, quality care to patients using private sector expertise in line with public sector funding and subsidies. In the case of neurological disorders, where constant awareness-raising, timely diagnosis, and access to critical care are essential, PPPs can help reduce the nervous NCDs our country is facing today. Dr. Shraddha Bhure, Medical Director, Ingerheim India, Bohringar
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