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Gweru Organization Raising Awareness of Stroke

A nurse checks the pressure in the trachea of an 83 year-old man in a permanent vegetative state, at an intensive care nursing home in Germany, April 12, 2011. The patient has been in this condition since suffering a stroke. REUTERS
A community-based organization in Gweru says the public needs greater awareness about the causes of stroke in order to curb deaths related to the condition.

Members of the Stroke Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) Tuesday joined others worldwide to commemorate World Stroke Day.

SAZ founder and director Aggrey Ngazana told Studio 7 that there are still people who associate strokes with witchcraft.

Ngazana, who formed the organization in 2007 following the death of his father from a stroke, explained some of his organisation’s objectives to Studio 7 on the sidelines of a march.

A stroke occurs when brain cells die from a lack of oxygen. This can be caused by an obstruction in the blood flow, or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain. The sufferer may lose the ability to speak or one side of the body can become paralyzed.

Ngazana said there is need to educate people about the causes of stroke and the ripple effects a stroke can have on the sufferers’ families, including financial and other stresses associated with treatment costs and having to care for someone with reduced faculties.

Jennifer Masaisai, a stroke survivor, said government should do what it can to help reduce the costs of treatment stroke patients.

Another stroke survivor, Shadreck Chikohora, said it is important for patients to have a positive attitude and to stick to their treatment schedule.

“It is important for a stroke victim to exercise,” Chikohora said. “It did not take long for me to recover from my stroke and return to my normal activities. My physiotherapist never missed a session to take me through physical exercises. Through him, I felt so encouraged and developed an attitude that I could make it. I would urge all stroke survivors to have a positive attitude and not to think that suffering from a stroke is the end of the world.”

Globally, stroke is the second most common cause of death. It afflicts over 15 million people and kills about six million people each year.

World Stroke Day was first commemorated in 2006 by the Geneva-based World Stroke Organisation.

The World Stroke Organisation, the world’s leading organization in the fight against stroke, was formed following a merger between the International Stroke Society and the World Stroke Federation.
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