International Stroke Conference
Danny R. Rose, Jr., MD
Improving stroke systems of care around the globe is a complex challenge that truly captures the “international” aspect of the International Stroke Conference. Each country faces its own unique set of challenges and opportunities based on available resources, geography, government and many other factors. The four talks were split evenly between discussing challenges for high income and low/middle income countries, with representation from Canada, Germany, India and Brazil.
The first talk was by Dr. Gordon Gubitz, MD, from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, discussing the implementation of stroke systems of care in Canada’s national single-payer healthcare system. Dr. Gubitz stressed that the foundation of the success of the Canadian model was developing nurturing relationships between physicians, researchers and advocacy groups, informed by best practice. The Canadian healthcare system is Medicare, a publically funded program that has been in place since 1971. The federal government provides funds that are distributed and utilized at the provincial level, according to the needs of each individual province or territory. This was largely due to the recognition that there is a wide disparity in geography, population density, infrastructure and other things between very rural areas like the Northwest Territories and a populous province like Ontario.