KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 – Boehringer Ingelheim Malaysia recently organised a nationwide Angels Initiative Roadshow with the aim of bolstering stroke awareness and care among Malaysians.
The roadshow commenced in Serian, Sarawak, in mid-August 2023, followed by visits to several key locations in Peninsular Malaysia, and culminating in Sabah on World Stroke Day on October 29, 2023.
As part of the roadshow, Boehringer Malaysia also introduced their FAST Heroes Programme, in addition to the health talks and educational booths, to educate children, enabling them to play a vital role in identifying stroke symptoms and helping their loved ones.
In Malaysia, stroke ranks as the third leading cause of mortality. Often referred to as a silent killer, stroke happens without prior warning, with 47,911 reported cases of stroke incidents, resulting in 19,928 deaths in 2019 alone.
A widespread misconception about stroke is that it only affects the elderly, but in reality, stroke occurs in individuals aged 15 to 65.
Notably, those with underlying health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease are at a higher risk of getting a stroke.
“On the occasion of World Stroke Day, we would like to highlight the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle as it can help reduce the likelihood of developing high blood pressure, thereby mitigating the risk of experiencing a stroke.
“A healthy lifestyle encompassing regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and stress management is essential for stroke prevention,” said Dr Mohd Azhar Ahmad, Head of Medicine, Boehringer Ingelheim Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Assoc Prof Hoo Fan Kee, president of the Malaysia Stroke Council, also stressed the significance of a rapid response within the golden hour: “Alongside stroke prevention, recognising stroke symptoms as well as acting swiftly and effectively is the key to safeguarding your loved ones during a stroke incident.”
Helping Families To Act FAST Against Stroke
There is a critical window of opportunity, often referred to as the golden hour, to optimise treatment effectiveness once symptoms manifest.
Stroke symptoms can vary from person to person, and most individuals are usually unaware when it occurs. This will eventually increase the risk of permanent disability, or in severe cases, mortality.
Research has shown that patients receiving treatment within the first 60 minutes have the best chance of full recovery.
As strokes may occur without warning, it is important to educate everyone, particularly children residing with their parents and grandparents, about recognising stroke symptoms, empowering them to act fast and potentially save their loved ones.
With the long-term goal of improving health in communities around the world, Boehringer Ingelheim has forged partnerships with local hospitals and associations, leading to the participation of 1,640 Malaysians in this nationwide campaign.
Additionally, 1,000 students from six schools participated in the FAST Heroes programme and were trained by professionals in effectively responding to strokes.
“At Boehringer Ingelheim, we are committed to the More Health Pillar under our Sustainable Development – For Generations (SD4G) framework.
“This pillar aims to improve community health by identifying and supporting the most promising solutions to challenging health problems.
“We also understand that close collaboration between various stakeholders is imperative to achieve our goals. Therefore, we would also like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the local hospitals and associations for their invaluable support in our Angels Initiative Roadshow and the FAST Heroes Programme.
“These efforts represent our collective dedication to ensuring a healthier future for Malaysians,” said Dr Mohd Azhar.
The official partners of this roadshow are regional hospitals, as well as local authorities and associations, including Sarawak General Hospital, Hospital Tanah Merah, University of Malaya Medical Centre, Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim, Sri Kota Specialist Medical Centre, Hospital Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah, Hospital Kulim, Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II, Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah, Hospital Queen Elizabeth, Hospital Tawau, the Sabah health department, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM), Persatuan Hainan Kota Kinabalu, and Klinik Kesihatan Tawau.