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Uganda: Scientists Warn of Rising Stroke Cases

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Nsambya Hospital and the Stroke Foundation of Uganda (SFU) say they are overwhelmed by the number of patients seeking assistance and treatment for stroke at their facilities.

While receiving a donation of weaving machines from the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) on Tuesday, the SFU president, Ms Juliet Birabwa, said at Nsambya Hospital where she works as a medical staff, the number of stroke patients admitted, has surpassed the malaria and HIV/Aids cases combined.

“And at our Wampewo centre, we are receiving children, young people and the elderly with stroke,” Ms Birabwa said.

She added that it is an unfortunate situation as very little is known about the condition.

Mr Ibrahim Bukenya, a physiotherapist at SFU, said while Uganda joins other countries to commemorate the International Stroke Day today, it is important to enlighten the public about the causes of stroke and how to avoid the disease.

“If you are smoking, you better stop. You should stop eating a lot of raw salt and salty food. Do regular check-up for your blood sugar. Avoid food which adds fat in your blood, you should do regular exercise,” he said.

Mr Bukenya said many people think it is only high blood pressure that causes stroke, but warned that some foods and lack of regular exercise are among the main causes.

Prof Charles Kwesiga, the UIRI executive director, said the institute is extending support to SFU because of the debilitating effects stroke leaves on the victims.

“We are giving these people skills for weaving textiles so that they can survive on their own. We cannot attach the value to whatever we are giving them because this is ongoing,” Prof Kwesiga said.

Ms Doreen Ninsiima, the SFU executive director, said since 2004 when they opened the Wampewo centre on Gayaza road, the number of stroke patients has increased from 10 in 2007/2008 to 12 in 2009/2010.

In 2011, the number shot up to 90 and today, they have 700 patients some of whom are being trained for skills to enable them survive on their own rather than depending on assistance.

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