This year’s World Stroke Day activities on 29th October got off to a spectacular start with the screening of videos of real life stories of stroke patients and their caregivers thus bringing alive this year’s slogan, ”Because I care…” The Secretary of Stroke Foundation of Bengal, Dr.A.Shobhana in her welcome address highlighted the concept of World Stroke Day and the slogans in the last few years. The program which was held in the Medical College Kolkata saw active participation from the Medical College Ex Students’ Association (MCESA). The participants included Faculty of Medical College of all major disciplines, students and ex-students, nurses, paramedical, employees, patients & theirs caregivers & friends, and the general people interested about stroke. Prof Tapan K. Lahiri, the Principal of Medical College who inaugurated the function by lighting the ceremonial lamp, in his address mentioned the significance of holding the WSD in Asia’s oldest Medical College. He said “‘Stroke” is a small ward but the after effects are devastating. Unfortunately there is severe lack of awareness at all levels in the country. Prof Asit Senapati, the Director, Bangur Institute of Neurosciences, stressed on the need to treat stroke early as “Time is Brain”, so that stroke does not become a curse to society.

Dr.Dipankar Mukherjee, Regional Team Leader East Zone, WHO Country Office for India, National Polio Surveillance Project, emphasized the need for wider programs to deal with non-communicable diseases, especially in sub centres and district hospitals in India .He also stressed on the risks of non smoke tobacco which is largely prevalent in the Indian populace. Treatment protocols for severe hypertension have recently been drawn, he informed. It was advised that it should be mandatory to check blood pressures of all patients who attend a health care facility irrespective of their ailment. Dr.Tapan Naskar, Hony Secretary, Medical College Ex Students Association felt that it was a proud moment for Medical College to observe the WSD along with SFB. In his Presidential address Prof.D.K.Mandal explained the goals of SFB which was meant for community oriented programs. In this respect a foundation is entirely different from an association. He also mentioned about how WSD started and how the changing pattern of disease in India has made prevention, detection and treatment of lifestyle disorders equally important like that of malaria or tuberculosis. Time has come when much more emphasis should be given on Non-Communicable diseases esp. Stroke which kills and disables most causing tremendous loss of human economic resources of our developing economy. Prof.Mandal also clarified the need for caregiver involvement –“Because I care …” slogan of WSD2013 in controlling damage due to stroke. As the numbers of patients are in millions in India, he stressed the need on the part of the Government to take immediate measures to fight stroke devastation in the community – both rural and urban.

In the interactive session between experts from the fields of paediatrics, endocrinology, Neurology, intensive care and internal medicine, the enthusiastic audience wanted to hear about the risk of stroke in children, treatment of acute stroke, what to do when stroke happens and control of blood pressure and blood sugar. The program concluded with the vote of thanks delivered by Dr.Dolan Das, Asst.Secy. SFB.The program received extensive coverage by the electronic and print media including the government run television (Doordarshan) and radio(All India Radio) channels.

Prior to this Seminar, a screening camp of Hypertension and Diabetes was held outside the Seminar hall, where the enthusiasm of the participants was remarkable. All participants were provided with folders containing leaflets of Stroke awareness, Word Stroke Day and Stroke Bulletins (last two issues) in Bengali &English.

World Stroke Day was also observed at Bolpur (160 KM away from Kolkata), a Subdivisional Town in an underdeveloped region by the Bolpur Branch of SFB. Hypertension Screening Camp, and a Seminar with Local Rotary Club was also held there with much enthusiasm and success. Local participation and interaction about stroke was very lively.