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According to Pate, hypertension and diabetes are some of the major factors that cause strokes.

Stroke: Pate Lists Major Risk Factors

Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, has attributed Nigeria’s high stroke prevalence to several underlying factors such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, improper dietary choices, alcohol use, and smoking.

He stated that hypertension alone contributes to up to 90 percent of all stroke cases.

A statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Deworitshe Patricia, said the minister revealed that from hospital-based data, stroke was the most common cause of adult neurological admissions in many parts of the country.

According to Pate, up to 40 percent of patients admitted for acute strokes in Nigeria do not survive beyond 30 days.

The Minister stated this at a ministerial press briefing to commemorate World Stroke Day with the theme, “Together we are #GreaterThan Stroke,” held in Abuja.

While calling for heightened awareness and proactive measures to combat the high incidence of the disease in Nigeria, Pate said that the federal government launched the National Hypertension Control Initiative (NHCI) in August 2019.

According to the Minister, the initiative focuses on strengthening PHC Centres to prevent and manage hypertension.

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He said the initiative has made significant progress with its simplified hypertension treatment protocol implemented in numerous PHC Centres across the country.

In addition, Pate said to support heart emergencies, the Nigerian Heart Foundation had procured Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for deployment in high-population areas such as airports.

“AEDs are portable life-saving medical devices used to revive sudden cardiac arrest victims, ” he added.

Pate, further stated that the World Stroke Organisation (WSO) reports that stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting over 12 million people each year and explained that it is a cardiovascular disease that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is reduced or blocked, depriving brain tissue of essential oxygen and nutrients.

“Symptoms can range from paralysis or numbness on one side of the body, confusion, difficulty speaking or swallowing, impaired coordination, to severe headaches. Immediate medical attention is vital in the event of a stroke.”

Pate disclosed that strategic policy documents aimed at preventing cardiovascular diseases had been developed- including a National Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Policy, a Multi-Sectoral Action Plan on NCDs and national guidelines for prevention, control and management of hypertension noting that the Ministry has also developed guidelines for other NCDs- diabetes, and sickle cell disease, and currently implementing the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and Regulations 2019.

The Minister therefore enjoined health workers to come together to share key messages on stroke prevention and take action that will help individuals understand and address these risks.

Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, the director of the Public Health Department, stated that Nigeria bears a significant burden of stroke noting that current data indicates crude stroke prevalence rates as high as 1331 cases.