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Create awareness of preventable diseases: Poongothai

Special Correspondent

She envisages greater role for neurologists in better management of strokes

— Photo: K. V. Srinivasan

HONOUR: Minister for Social Welfare Poongothai Aladi Aruna (second from right) presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to neurologist S. N. Bhagwati at the inauguration of a conference in Chennai on Thursday.

CHENNAI: Social Welfare Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna on Thursday called for health education initiatives to raise public awareness of preventable diseases.

Inaugurating “Neuro Update 2008,” organised by the Madras Neuro Trust with the support of the Indian Stroke Association, Dr. Poongothai stressed the need to “get our basics right” and focus on disease prevention alongside the adoption of technology-led advances in healthcare.

The Minister singled out strokes, the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancers, as a major concern, especially among the elderly.

Strokes were estimated to account for 1.2 per cent of all causes of death. Besides, the consequences for stroke patients were not just health problems but also complex socio-economic issues, she said.

Dr. Poongothai said she envisaged a greater role for neurologists in the better management of strokes.

Disease burden

According to the Minister, the disease burden in India was rapidly swelling, leading to a situation in which the country had to cope with traditional diseases and newer disorders linked to urbanisation and lifestyle changes.

Dr. Poongothai also presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award” to S. N. Bhagwati, director of the Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences.

Dr. Bhagwati urged neurologists to develop their skills in clinical sciences even when technology was simplifying diagnostics. He also exhorted them to uphold ethics and be compassionate towards patients.

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