Srinagar, May 10: The ‘Save Brain Initiative’ of Health Department Kashmir has been officially launched in district hospitals in Kashmir that have the facility of CT scan to prevent brain damage in patients before they are shifted to tertiary care health institutions.
The initiative was launched by Secretary Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Bhupinder Kumar who applauded the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir and doctors of the health department for beginning this vital life-saving service in Kashmir hospitals.
“The initiative will go a long way in enhancing manpower in primary healthcare centres and prevent patients with strokes from getting paralyzed for life,” he said.
Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather said the initiative will further improve and augment the healthcare sector in district and sub-district hospitals and will bring relief for patients who had to rush to tertiary hospitals for this service.
He said that the medicine needed for stroke thrombolysis will be kept free in district hospitals so that the patients are provided it in the hospital free of cost.
“It has so far saved many stroke patients in rural areas. The first four hours are “golden time” for patients who suffer strokes because if patients don’t get initial treatment in this duration, the patient gets paralysed and remains dependent on others till his life,” he said.
Experts say early treatment of acute ischemic stroke within 4.5 hours with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator reduces neurological impairment and disability.
Dr Showkat Hussain, Nodal Officer of the initiative said there are two type of strokes hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke. He said most of the strokes reported in India are ischemic strokes.
“In ischemic stroke, brain cells begin to die in minutes and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications. It paralyzes a person and he becomes dependent and drains people economically,” he said.
“In ischemic stroke there is an injection and if that is given within 4.5 hours it can prevent not only deaths but also disability. The injection has two benefits it save patients and prevent chances of disability,” Dr Showkat said.
Earlier, such patients would face trouble in reaching to hospitals and many patients especially those from peripheries would die on way to hospitals.
Dr Showkat who is Consultant Neurology Health Services Kashmir said the health department worked on the idea and procured medicines that are costly in private pharma shops.
“We have now procured these injections for hospitals where CT scan facilities are available and these hospitals will cater to the surrounding areas during emergencies,” he said.
Over the past six months, doctors of district hospitals were trained at Regional Health and Family Welfare Institute Dhobiwan Tangmarg on how to treat a stroke and they are making regular visits to the hospitals to improve the service.
Under the Save Brain Initiative, a WhatsApp group on the pattern of Save Heart Kashmir has been created in which senior doctors give their suggestions live round the clock.
Notably, top neurologists of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and SMHS are available for consultation on the phone. “In case of the need for suggestions of specialist doctors are sought who reply and call quickly during day and night,” he said.
The initiative will also lessen the burden on tertiary care hospitals and has come as a healing touch for patients who were otherwise only shifted to Srinagar hospitals.
Spokesperson DHSK, Dr Mir Mushtaq said it is the first such initiative in the whole India in the peripheral health sector and doctors have been trained in stroke thrombolysis.
“The initiative will provide early treatment to the stroke patients within the critical time window to prevent damage to the brain and thereby disability,” he said.
“Doctors of hospitals having CT scan facilities available are trained. Once CT Scans are installed in all hospitals this program will move further in survival of patients. There are some hospitals that don’t have CT and they are in pipeline,” he said.