World Stroke Day is an opportunity for us to recognize that the burden of cerebrovascular diseases is not equally distributed throughout the world. As North America, Western Europe, and other regions of the world with advanced care struggle with issues such as implementation of endovascular coverage, most of the world struggles with issue of basic stroke care, including diagnosis and prevention.
The World Stroke Congress (WSC) held earlier this month in Montreal was an opportunity to learn about the disparities in stroke pathophysiology, systems, and care throughout the world. The World Stroke Organization (WSO) is a leading organization tasked with reducing the global burden of stroke and sponsors the WSC. Improvements in stroke care in developing nations has to be one of the priorities among WSO representatives from nations with excellent stroke infrastructure, but how can this be achieved? This is one of the challenges that the stroke community faces.
One place to start may be in joining and supporting the mission of the WSO. A second may be in looking for opportunities to interact with systems of stroke care in other countries. These opportunities may be something as simple as forming relationships and supporting physicians who provide stroke care in these countries. Other options may be visiting and learning more about challenges to stroke care in particular developing nations. Each region has unique local challenges in addition to the more basic universal needs.
Thinking of stroke as a global disease rather than a local disease is an important first step. On World Stroke Day, all of us in the stroke community should consider how we can make an impact on the global burden of stroke, no matter how small. Learning about the mission of the WSO and joining the organization may be a small step, but it is a start. I have been thinking about how I can impact stroke care in the Republic of Armenia, where I have an ancestral connection, as well as in Cambodia, where our Department of Neurology has formed a working relationship with the regional university. Thinking and building awareness is the first step.
In recognition of World Stroke Day, Blogging Stroke contributors will be posting about their perspectives on the global challenge of stroke care. Stay tuned throughout the day to read their blog posts.