A medical expert in stroke, Dr. Ogugua Osiogbu, has said that 40 per cent of Nigerian population are suffering from stroke.
She said this in Abuja on Tuesday at an awareness campaign against stroke, organised in commemoration of the 2012 World Stroke Day by the Nigeria Stroke Assembly in collaboration with Stroke Action Nigeria. The assembly was formed by Rita Melifonwu, a UK-based Nigerian nurse and a Fellow of Mary Seacole Nursing Leadership Centre in the United Kingdom.
Osiogbu said 40 per cent of Nigerian population have the disease.
According to Osiogbu, the only way to prevent stroke is for individual to have a health check at least once in a year “as stroke has been proven to be the second cause of death in Africa with people living with the disease put at 40 per cent in Nigeria alone.”
She observed that late medical check up by patients often compounded the challenge.
Osiogbu added that non-availability of imaging equipment and lack of rehabilitation centres for sufferers in Nigeria should be addressed by government.
She added that one out of six persons, especially in Africa, suffers from stroke as about 15 million people fall victims of the disease across the world yearly.
Six million out of the figure dies and five million others live with permanent and residual disability.
Also, a consultant neuro-surgeon and a member of Board of Trustees of SAN, Dr. Biodun Ogungbo, said high consumption of food high in cholesterol, lack of physical exercise, heart disease, obesity, smoking and high blood pressure were some of the factors responsible for stroke.
According to him, the best cure for stroke is prevention.
“Once it happens once, it will keep affecting other parts of the body. Any part of the human body is susceptible to the ailment, which may lead to permanent disability of the affected part,” he stressed.
Melifonwu said, “It is important that we communicate to people the risk factors and management of the disease. People need to know that stroke is not spiritual attack, it has to do with the brain. The government should do something urgently in the management of sufferers so that they can get their lives back again.
“What we have in Nigeria needs to be improved upon, it is not good enough. The immediate families of sufferers are left to cater for them and these ones have limited resources, there is no way they can cope. The treatment and management of the disease is quite overwhelming, this should not be left for individual or families alone.”
Melifonwu, who disclosed that her organisation would take the campaign to all the states of the federation, also solicited the support of all tiers of governments and well-meaning Nigerians to strengthen the anti-stroke war.