With seven out of every 10 Nigerian earning less than two-dollar a-day, the cost care of stroke is often unaffordable and ultimately leading to death. This affirms the cliché that says “prevention is better than cure”.
At the opening of the eighth edition of cardiovascular summit, organised by Pfizer Nigeria, it was gathered, that it will be a lot cheaper should government opt for public hospitals, paying an estimated sum of N11b ($55m) per year, if Nigeria must treat all stroke incidences in the country.
Adesola Ogunniyi, Professor of Medicine at the University of Ibadan shed light on some findings on economies of stroke incidences and treatments in the country noted that the burden of stroke was bigger than the public is currently aware.
Ogunniyi who has analysed seven stroke studies from different parts of the country looking at the proportion of individuals to stroke and hypertension, is also a consultant physician and neurologist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State. He noted that stroke remains the number one cause of hospital admission in UCH and second leading cause of death in the world.
“Each year, about 90,000 new cases will be added on, based on incidence figure. It will therefore cost us $55m to look for stroke if they are managed in public hospital. But if it is private hospitals, it will cost half a billion dollars to look after stroke patients. That is just for one year. It may take about 11 years to have the patients fully recovered because of permanent disabilities,” he said.
One in every 20 deaths in the United States for instance, is as a result of stroke, even as the country records one stroke incident every 40 seconds.
Ogunniyi observed that a 1998 to 2000 study in Ibadan revealed 50.4 per cent prevalence rate. It was as high as 64.9 per cent in Enugu in a 2003 to 2007 study. Prof. Mustapha Danesi led study in Surulere, Lagos, in 2007 finds 15 stroke incidences in 13,127-sample size (1.14 per 1000 population).
Among a tiny fraction of the population that may be aware of this epidemic rate, however, many don’t know how expensive the condition is until they have had a bout.
In current realities, a minimum of six weeks of care in government-owned hospital (minus imagining) will cost N120, 000 ($600). Same duration will cost N1m ($5000) in a private hospital.
On attendant disease conditions associated with stroke, according to Ogunniyi, a bill of N6, 430 to N193, 000 goes with dementia treatment; N11, 337 per schizophrenia-related admission; Diabetes Mellitus will require N8, 571 per admission. Others are adult epilepsy, N43, 878 and N319, 200 for heart failure treatment in a year.
With the prevalence rate already pegged at 193,800 and an addition of about 91,800 new cases every year, it is therefore fairly easy to understand the attendant huge cost attached to the disease burden.
The Neurologist added that there is a tendency for the Stroke rate to increase because of the Changing Lifestyles of Nigerians becoming more westernised and in the process, they eat more saturated fats and become more sedentary with the computers and doing lesser physical exercises, there is also an increase in smoking, drinking and obesity.
“Besides, the world is ageing and Africa is not exempted. Between 1950 and 2050 there is significant increase in the percentage of people growing old; so ageing is a factor. Second, stroke data from 22 countries, including Nigeria, show that hypertension is the number one risk factor. The other is smoking, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, diabetes and so on.
“As people get older the more stroke incidences and hypertension increase. Unfortunately, we cannot do anything about ageing because it is important for people to get older. I have analysed seven stroke studies from different parts of the country looking at the proportion of individuals to stroke and hypertension. Again, we see that about 60 to 90 per cent of them are hypertensive when they have stroke. So, hypertension is a dominant risk factor. If hypertension prevalence increases, the problem of stroke increases too,” he said.