In many countries strokes are seen as a lower priority when compared to other diseases despite their public health impact. This is partly due to a lack of readily accessible data to make the case for the development of national stroke strategies. The International Journal of Stroke reports on the efforts of a global team to launch a repository housing the latest published information on the impact of strokes worldwide.
"We aim to provide a repository of the most current incidence and mortality data on stroke available by country and to illustrate the gaps in these data," said Dr. Amanda Thrift of Monash University. "We plan to update this repository annually and to expand the scope to address other aspects of the burden of strokes."
Data was compiled by building an extensive literature review with a major focus on published systematic reviews on stroke incidence, and by collating data from the World Health Organization.
Some regions had three to five fold greater incidences than other countries. Of the 123 countries reporting mortality data, crude mortality was greatest in Kazhakstan. In many regions data was old or nonexistent. Such country-level data is important for citizens, clinicians, and policy makers so that local and global strategies to reduce the overall burden of stroke can be implemented.
"This review highlights that there is no information on stroke in some countries, and in some countries data are very old. These national data are essential so that appropriate action can be taken, by individuals and governments, to reduce the impact of stroke," said Dr. Thrift. "Importantly we can learn from the successful strategies used in countries where stroke incidence and mortality is low. Stroke is preventable, and so countries with a higher stroke burden may be able to adopt or adapt these strategies to reduce the unnecessarily high impact of stroke that they currently experience."