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Stroke Research In India Being Promoted By Two Foreign Universities

The University of Central Lancashire has been awarded £1.9m from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), to support further implementation of best practice stroke care in India. The three-year research project is led by the University and will be a collaborative effort with the George Institute for Global Health in Australia and India, Christian Medical College in Ludhiana, clinicians from three hospitals across India, and other key colleagues in the UK, India and Australia.  

The research is due to start immediately and will build on existing stroke unit care, implementing and evaluating best practice stroke care, and developing research that will not only help developing countries, but will inform implementation of best practice globally.

“This study should help capacity development in management of stroke in India with specific focus on strategies that impact better health outcomes for people suffering from stroke. A key component would be to increase the skills of India’s frontline workers in stroke care,’’ said Dr Pallab Maulik, deputy Director, Head of Research, The George Institute for Global Health India.   

Stroke incidence in India is rising. The average age of people suffering a stroke in India is in the 50s, compared to the 70s in the UK. This is largely due to change in lifestyle of the population in addition to environmental factors such as poor living conditions, lack of  health awareness and fragmented healthcare infrastructure.

There are currently around 50 dedicated stroke units in India. As part of this project, researchers will be working with existing stroke units at CMC, Ludhiana; AIIMS, New Delhi and SCTIMST Trivandrum. They will look to determine the most effective processes for stroke assessment, care, monitoring and therapy, as well as determining the most economical approaches to assessment.

Professor Dame Caroline Watkins, Director of Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Central Lancashire and Chief Investigator of the study, said: “A stroke is one of the most serious life-threatening conditions that people can suffer, which is why prompt and effective diagnosis and aftercare is incredibly important.”

For example, accurate diagnosis of whether a stroke is caused by a haemorrhage or blood clot, and precise assessment of associated disorders, will determine the correct type of treatment. This also provides invaluable insight into the most relevant acute stroke care for those most at risk of long-term damage.
A country the size of India should have around 3,500 dedicated stroke units to cater for the scale of the problem. The prevalence of stroke is becoming more common and funding is limited, so it is vital that we are able to assess the current working practices and outline the most cost-effective ways of providing high-quality care to stroke patients. “This grant is fundamental for future research in the faculty and will help us inform stroke care across the world.’’

The George Institute for Global Health is working across a broad health landscape by conducting clinical, population and health system research aimed at changing health practice and policy worldwide. The Institute has been ranked among the top 10 global institutes for impact for the last several years. 

The George Institute India partners with over sixty national and international institutions such as the Public Health Foundation of India, the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, University of Hyderabad; and affiliations with University of Sydney, Oxford and Peking.

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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