Angels’ wings spreading across South Africa to improve stroke care
30 October 2018
Every day up to 360 South Africans are affected by strokes and experts warn that about a third of those who suffer a stroke will die, and a quarter will be left with life-changing disability.
For about a year, the Angels Initiative has been working with South African health professionals and the public in densely populated urban centres to raise awareness about stroke prevention and management.
Now the Angels Initiative is spreading its wings to other areas of South Africa – with the ambitious goal to reach up to 1000 doctors, paramedics, emergency care and other health service providers in some of the regional hospitals across smaller cities.
During this quarter, the Angels team will be holding meetings in Bloemfontein, Klerksdorp, East London, George and other towns. As World Stroke Day was on 29 October, there is impetus to create awareness and education around stroke.
“We anticipate that this will have a positive effect for numerous patients and healthcare professionals across the country,” comments Professor Feroza Motara, Head of Emergency Medicine at Wits University, who is also a member of the Angels Initiative’s steering committee.
Stroke is a ‘brain attack’ that occurs when oxygen supply to the brain is cut off by a blockage or damage to a blood vessel in the brain. This causes the brain cells to die, which can be fatal or result in disability.
The chances of recovery for stroke sufferers depend on somebody recognising that they are experiencing a stroke and getting them to an emergency hospital fast. Such a facility should have well-trained staff and specialised diagnostic equipment to establish whether a stroke has been caused by a blockage in a blood vessel supplying the brain, or by the rupture of a damaged blood vessel which causes bleeding in the brain.
The Angels Initiative’s awareness-raising and training activities, supported by medical company Boehringer Ingelheim, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, stroke support groups, regional health departments and other role-players are complemented with efforts to improve the ability of hospitals to diagnose stroke and provide treatment.