SITS International and Boehringer Ingelheim Launch the observational study of stroke-care in the region and conduct a regional workshop about management of stroke in the UAE

SITS International Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 14 October, 2014 – Addressing the need to continually improve the quality of stroke management in the MENA region and save patients’ lives, Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading pharmaceutical company, in collaboration with ‘Safe Implementation of Treatment in Stroke (SITS), a world-wide collaboration to support quality development of stroke management, German Stoke Society and the Emirates Neurology Society, have organized a two day regional stroke conference in Dubai. Through this initiative, Boehinger Ingelheim upkeeps its support for enhancing and developing the standards and quality of stroke centers and registry in the MENA region.

The 2-day workshop held in the UAE focused on systematically evaluating and improving clinical acute stroke treatment and drive overall excellence in acute and secondary stroke management. The participants in the conference, all experienced strokologists from MENA countries, will discuss acute stroke treatment protocol of the SITS registry. This registry protocol specifically devised for MENA region will be running for a period of 2 years from June 2014 till May 2016 and will help gather information regarding various aspects related to acute stroke management at the centers enrolling in the study. The conference also provided insights around the clear guidance that having stroke units in the hospitals will decrease the death rates from stroke and its outcomes. In this regard, the SITS MENA members got an opportunity to interact with stroke experts of the German Stroke Society and understand their views on the stroke unit certification process initiated by the Society.

SITS is the tool for hospitals to continuously improve the quality of stroke management. The purpose of the Registry is to support a high and evenly distributed quality of stroke care, which will benefit stroke patients. SITS is also an instrument for professional organizations and authorities to follow and evaluate the implementation of guidelines for stroke management. The purpose of the initial two-year observational study is to systematically evaluate the current status of stroke care in Middle- Eastern and North African countries as a basis for quality development.

In the Middle East and North Africa stroke is increasingly becoming a major health problem, with projections that deaths from it will nearly double by 2030. Studies reported rates from 29.8 per 100 000 people in Saudi Arabia to 57 per 100 000 people in Bahrain. Furthermore, the 28-day case mortality rate also differed among studies, ranging from 10% in Kuwait to 31.5% in Iran. The Middle East and North Africa are lacking in data on the epidemiology of stroke. There is an urgent need to develop strategies to prevent and better care for stroke patients in the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr. Mohammed Al Tawil, General Manager, Boehringer Ingelheim, Near East Middle East Area (NEMEA) said: “Boehringer Ingelheim has demonstrated its commitment to the region by bringing in new learning’s and global practices. The main objective for Boehringer Ingelheim to support the initiative is to engage existing and budding neurologists, strokologists, and health care practitioners with the international groups to analyze and enroll data around stroke management which will lead to better solutions in the implementation of stoke management, develop strategies for better treatment and save people’s lives”.

Dr. Suhail Al Rukn, President, Emirates Neurology Society (EMINS) and UAE SITS Coordinator said: “Internationally between 100 and 120 strokes occur per 100,000 people. Though the region falls within that global average, our sufferers are much younger in age than those in many other countries; 20 years younger in some cases. Our main aim is to safe stroke patients from the serious consequence, that’s why the Emirates Neurology Society is proud to be a partner of this initiative alongside other leading healthcare organizations.”

Prof. Dr. Nils Wahlgren, SITS Chairman and Professor of Neurology at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, said: “The data collected through the SITS network on a global scale has been extremely useful for our understanding of treatments and the development of new protocols within the medical community. With the opening of the region’s first dedicated stroke center and registry in the UAE, the medical community will have access to a unique and dynamic channel for data collection—helping to combat the disease both locally and abroad.”

Prof. Dr. Otto Busse, Secretary General, German Stroke Society, said: “Given the prevalence of stroke in the country and the region, we encourage and are willing to help more hospitals and centers set up dedicated stroke units following the essential protocols and guidelines put forward by the German Stoke Society.”

The conference saw attendance from different neurologists, stroke specialists and managers of stroke units from Oman, Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia, KSA, Egypt, Iran,Sweden, Germany and the UAE.

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