The Stroke Foundation has welcomed an announcement from Australian health minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP which confirmed $4 million will be invested in combatting two of the nation’s biggest killers – heart disease and stroke.
Stroke Foundation chief executive officer Sharon McGowan said there are 56,000 strokes each year in Australia, which equates to about one stroke every nine minutes.
“Disturbingly, we are on track for one stroke every four minutes by 2050,” she said.
“Today’s announcement is another stride forward in the right direction to ease the burden of stroke on the community, health system and economy.”
Ms McGowan also commended the government’s $800,000 investment to educate the community about the F.A.S.T. (face, arms, speech and time) signs of stroke which she believes will save lives and reduce disability as a result of stroke.
The foundation’s chief executive officer described stroke as a “time-critical medical emergency”.
“After a stroke 1.9 million brain cells die each minute. The faster treatment is sought, the better the chance of a good outcome,” she said.
Ms McGowan said only 36 per cent of Australians suffering from stroke arrive at hospital within the 4.5-hour window for blood clot dissolving treatment. She blamed educational barriers on this significantly low percentage, suggesting only a small number of Australians know the signs of stroke and when to call an ambulance.
Ms McGowan said although this funding will see the implementation of essential services and education programs, there’s still a long way to go.
“An investment in stroke is an investment in a healthier Australia. I call on all parties to come together and support action on stroke, for Australians now and into the future.”