Every six seconds someone somewhere will die of stroke. This year, nearly six million people worldwide will die from stroke. One in six people will have a stroke at sometime in their lives. Stroke is responsible for more deaths annually than those attributed to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, yet stroke remains a silent epidemic. Now is the time to act.
Today, two-thirds of all individuals that have suffered from a stroke live in low and middle-income countries where health systems are already challenged to the limit. In an ageing global population, stroke is the second leading cause of death for people above the age of 60 years. Stroke also attacks children, including newborns. Without coordinated effort on the part of the international community, stroke will claim the lives of up to 6.5 million people each year by 2015. Now is the time to act.
In response to this crisis, the World Stroke Organization (WSO) launched the World Stroke Campaign on World Stroke Day 2010 to intensify awareness on the fight against stroke. This is directly in line with the World Stroke Proclamation (2006):
- Act NOW because stroke is a global epidemic that threatens lives, health and quality of life
- Act NOW as we have the knowledge to reduce the risk of stroke and to effectively treat patients
- Act NOW as much can be done to rehabilitate stroke survivors and improve their overall quality of life
- Act NOW to raise professional and public awareness about stroke
And, in particular:
- Send a unified, consistent message throughout the world by enhancing existing stroke campaigns in order to sustain a global effort
- Increase awareness, educate the public and health professionals about the causes and symptoms of stroke
- Influence policy makers in putting the fight against stroke higher on national, regional and international public health agendas
- Build partnerships with stakeholders from across all sectors and from all disease-oriented organizations to prevent and reduce stroke
- Advocate for appropriate treatment, quality care and support
- Work towards the establishment of comprehensive stroke units or similar stroke facilities in all corners of the world
- And, work towards building a health care system that responds to the needs of each individual dealing with the impact of stroke, their families and care-givers