The tenth anniversary of Stroke Foundation of Bengal (SFB) was celebrated on the 24th of June this year (2016) at a function organized at the FD Block Community Center, Salt Lake City, Kolkata. The program started off with the welcome address by the Secretary of SFB, Dr A. Shobhana. While briefing about the activities of SFB in the last ten years she emphasized about the objectives of stroke education, prevention clinics, rehabilitation clinics and the dream of a future comprehensive stroke center and institute. She mentioned about the Hypertension Clinic started by the Bolpur Branch of SFB recently Dr. Shobhana also highlighted the importance of care for the rural population and the need for telestroke facilities to link rural centers with the tertirary level centers in the big cities. She concluded with a quote of Swami Vivekananda that infinite patience, infinite purity and infinite perseverance are the secrets of success for a good cause.
The program was formally inaugurated by the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by Chief Guest for the occasion ,Dr. N. K. Biswas, Former President of the Salt Lake Branch of Indian Medical Association.This was followed by the release of the souvenir by the Guest of Honour, Dr.Dipanakar Mukherjee, Former regional Head WHO regional Office. Dr.N.K.Biswas in his speech reiterated the need for stroke education among the general practitioners who happen to be the first line of contact between the patient and the health care system. He mentioned the number of awareness programs that SFB and IMA have held together for this purpose. Dr. Dipankar Mukherjee stressed upon the fact that 60- 70 % strokes are preventable. He lamented that the national Guidelines for prevention of non-communicable diseases like cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disorders are not being uniformly implemented even at the Government run centers. He mentioned that the sub-centers can record blood pressure, blood sugars and spread education to prevent addiction to tobacco, alcohol as well as advocate healthy diet and exercise .He urged the young population to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Mukherjee concluded with a desire to work with SFB and urged all present to do so too.
Dr.Anup Sadhu, Vice President, SFB was nostalgic while recalling the events that lead Prof. D.K.Mandal to form the Stroke Foundation of Bengal. Even before SFB was born he had been travelling with Prof. Mandal in the weekends to spread stroke awareness in the districts of West Bengal. He realized that now with SFB’s efforts the elderly and middle aged have better knowledge about stroke and its prevention, However he cautioned that the rising incidence of stroke in our country was also because of younger patients falling prey to lifestyle diseases especially addictions He stressed on the need to identify the undiagnosed and untreated hypertensives. He gave the example of ignorance about blood pressure among medical students, almost 80% of them being unaware of their blood pressure levels. Dr.Sadhu also urged the audience to be involved with SFB activities.
Prof. Mandal in his presidential address once again called upon measures to improve stroke care among the masses, large chunk of whom belong to the rural belt. He related his experience among the tribal adivasis of Santinikatan who had said that they consumed a lot of salt in diet as well as oral tobacco. He stressed upon the need for basic stroke care in the rural belt including prevention clinics , rehabilitation clinics and with link to higher centers through telestroke. Prof. Mandal was critical about the fact that India is far behind the first steps in stroke management namely prevention compared to the developed nations who have strong prevention programs.He introduced the Stroke Riskometer app for stroke prevention. The Bengali version of the app which has been formulated by SFB will be shortly available for free download ( Lite version ), the pro -version being available at a minimum cost. He also called for passing the Global Stroke Rights Bill at the government level so that stroke care is available to all.This Bill has been adopted by many countries all over the world for a unified attempt to care for stroke patients/
This was followed by an interactive session where the audience quizzed the expert panel comprising of neurologists,cardiologist,stroke physician and intensivist and radiologist about blood cholesterol, surgery in stroke etc.
The program which was attended by stroke patients care givers, media personnel( electronic and print media) concluded with the vote of thanks by Mr. Asoke De, Treasurer ,SFB.