CELEBRATING THE IMPACT OF WFNR ON DEVELOPMENT OF NEUROREHABILITATION IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA IN THE LAST 25 YEARS
REPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE WFNR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT - PROF MAYOWA OWOLABI MBBS, MSc, DM, FAAN, FANA, FAS, FAMedS, FRCP
ESTABLISHMENT OF INTERNATIONAL STROKE ASSOCIATION:
THE AFRICAN STROKE ORGANIZATION was established on the 22nd of October 2020 with >178 drawn from the six continents of the world including Heads of International (AHA/ASA, AFAN, SONA, WFNR, WHL, WHO, WSO, European Stroke Organization, United Kingdom, Brazilian Stroke Network), African Regional Stroke Support Organizations in attendance. Speaking during inauguration, the Chair Dr Rufus Akinyemi, noted that ASO was an important landmark in the annals of neuroscience and global health particularly in Africa. The ASO Co-chair and vice-president, WFNR SSA, Prof Owolabi noted that the formation of ASO is a great and historic event in the combined fight against stroke in the African continent. Warm appreciations were expressed to the Presidents of several organization including Prof David Good, President of the WFNR.
TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING INITIATIVES
Webinar Meetings: The first webinar took place on 24th of March, 2021 with selected members of the WFNR flying faculty, neurology experts, trainees, professionals and allied professionals drawn from various parts of SSA and other pan-African countries in attendance.
World Health Events: A virtual presentation, organised by the Egyptian Hypertension Society, was made by Prof Mayowa Owolabi, This meeting had online attendees and presenters as well as members of the Egyptian Neurorehabilitation Association ably led by Prof Foad Abd-Allah.
Prof Mayowa Owolabi’s presentation slide during his presentation at the World Hypertension Day Organized by the Egyptian Neurorehabilitation Association
CAPACITY BUILDING IN NEUROREAHBILITATION IN SSA
First WFNR-BLOSSOM Neurorehabilitation Conference in East, West and Central Africa
The Blossom Centre, WFNR and College of Medicine University of Ibadan played host to her maiden and second conference which had in attendance >220 drawn from across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, USA, UK, Germany; Italy, USA. This meeting featured WFNR flying faculty including Prof Barbara Wilson, Prof David Good, Prof Caterina Pistarini, Prof Wayne Feng, in addition to other faculty from Melbourne Australia
Group photograph with guest speakers and participants during the first and second neuro-rehabilitation conference which held in Ibadan, Nigeria
Formation of Neurorehabilitation Associations:
To oversee activities in SSA region and provision of member support among relevant professional bodies, the Nigeria Federation of Neurorehabilitation [NFNR] was birthed in 2017 in Nigeria and others including Beninese Association for Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation (ABEKIR) and the Cameroon Association of Neurorehabilitation (NEREMODIS) etc.
NEUROREHABILITATION AND SERVICE PROVISION
The Blossom Centre recently moved to its permanent and ambient structure as part of expanding its reach and impact, with sixteen neuro-professionals, a handful of young medical trainees who provide an array of services for its teeming clientele and patients base of over 1000
The New Blossom Centre (Permanent site)
With support from WFNR, our Regional Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa established the Blossom Neurorehabilitation Center in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Neurorehabilitation is very new to the 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Raising awareness among patients, service providers and the population in general is key and this enables them to take advantage of the facilities at the WFNR - Blossom Specialist Medical Centre.
TREAT - an acronym of the secretariat's strengths and prospects
Therapeuti: The Centre is recording the improved quality of life of patients with the introduction of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) which complements wervice delivery and better health outcomes.
Research: There are several studies underway at the Centre. The `Tailored Hospital-based Risk Reduction to Impede Vascular Events after Stroke' or THRIVES study is designed to sustain effective treatment and self care management in order to prevent secondary stroke. A study involving a treatment that controls blood pressure is on-going followed by the pilot phase conclusion and qualitative phase.
The largest study of stroke in Africa has commenced: the `Stroke Investigative Research and Education network' (SIREN) is a multidisciplinary collaborative research network designed to focus on exploring ways to promote a better understanding of the socio-demographic, clinical and genetic characteristics of stroke. These studies all constitute parts of the stroke quadrangle of which rehabilitation is a major pillar.
Enlightenment: A cross section of physicians drawn across the south-western states of Nigeria met for a one day Clopidogrel expert meeting held in Ibadan, Nigeria. Exclusive live television interviews were conducted on the burden of, and rehabilitation for, stroke.
Advocacy: State and institutional support in relation to stroke prevention and rehabilitation were solicited from the Commissioner for Health, the CMDs of THRIVIES study centres and medical professionals. Unanimously, stroke prevention was highly endorsed with commitments pledges as and when needed. Discussions have commenced to widen the scope and delivery of the secretariat's services to under-serviced communities at grassroots level.
Training: Plans are underway to leverage established collaborations with institutions across Africa including Egypt and Sudan, to interact with the WFNR with the aim of improving the neurorehabilitation capability of professionals across the continent.