Doctors point to increase in paralysis since Covid-19

Call for special focus on paralysis treatment, public awareness

Our Correspondent October 28, 2020

The Pakistan Stroke Society (PSS) called for a special hospital for the treatment of paralysis patients and highlighted notable increase in cases since the pandemic on Tuesday, ahead of World Stroke Day tomorrow (Thursday).

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, doctors associated with the PSS maintained that nearly a 1,000 people suffer from a paralysis stroke in Pakistan per day. Of these, roughly 400 die and between 200 to 300 of those who remain are paralysed for life.

The doctors are running awareness campaigns on World Paralysis Day and have organised various events and activities in 20 cities, with free screening camps set up in 16 cities, told PSS Vice President Dr Abdul Malik.

He was flanked by PSS General-Secretary Dr Ravi Shankar, former president of the Pakistan Society of Neurology Prof Muhammad Wassay, Dr Bashir Soomro and other doctors. They urged for the establishment of paralysis stroke treatment centres in all major hospitals of the country. The doctors called for provincial and national paralysis prevention programmes similar to those in place for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS.

As many as 1,200 out of every 100,000 people in Pakistan suffer from paralysis, according to Dr Wasay, who added that the figure was 250 only five years ago but has significantly increased since, especially post March after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The risk of shrinking arteries and blood clots forming increases in Covid-19 patients causing the number of paralysis patients to increase since March, said Dr Soomro. He warned family members of paralysis patients to practice caution as the paralysis can be hereditary.

Urging provincial governments to play their part in controlling the disease, Dr Wasay said that him and his colleagues were willing to train staff for paralysis units in government hospitals. Data on paralysis patients is being recorded through a mobile phone application, he said.

Similarly, Dr Malik called for a special hospital for paralysis treatment like the National Institute of Cardiovascular diseases as paralysis is as prevalent as heart disease.

It would make treatment easier if people are aware of the symptoms of paralysis strokes, stressed Dr Shankar, adding that those who experience a paralysis stroke need to be shifted to the hospital immediately for their life to be saved.

The PSS doctors organised a walk on the day during which participants held banners and placards raising awareness on paralysis strokes and symptoms.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2020.


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