Stroke Units Save Lives
Because of its wider reach, a stroke unit is the single most important intervention in the last two decades to prevent a patient from dying or becoming dependent from an acute stroke. Through a multidisciplinary approach, many of the following can be achieved:
Reduced secondary infections (e.g. bladder or chest infection)
Reduced pressure sores (pressure sores would normally lead to more infection, and increased immobility)
Reduced length of hospital stay
Reduced long term disability and dependency
Reduced in hospital death rates
Furthermore, a stroke unit has been shown to be superior and more cost-effective than treatment on general medical and neurological wards. Although countries like South Africa has been successful in providing stroke care in dedicated stroke units, in government-owned hospital facilities, other countries in sub-Saharan Africa (including Malawi) are yet to follow. A major barrier is the limited number of specialist staff dedicated to this service.