Stroke is an increasing problem in sub-Saharan Africa, even in children. High rates of hypertension, diabetes, alcohol abuse, smoking, insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption, sickle cell disease, HIV infection, antiretroviral use and race are likely contributing factors. Although often considered as related to increasing wealth, stroke is more strongly related to poverty, and in turn increases it. Case-fatality rates are high and premature death and years of life lost are a major problem. We propose an approach to stroke prevention and treatment that takes into account the real situation on the ground and can be applied in sub-Saharan Africa, an area where stroke units are largely not feasible and many patients do not reach hospitals. Involvement of community and faith-based organisations, use of simple diagnostic tests, emphasis on clinical examination to differentiate between haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke, prompt initiation of aspirin therapy and training of community nurses on essential management of stroke should be urgently implemented.
- Sub-Saharan Africa
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases