Medical professionals in the area of neurological sciences have raised an alarm over increasing rate of neurological disorders like hypertension, stroke, epilepsy and meningitis in the country.

Speaking as keynote speaker at the 49th annual general meeting of the Nigeria Society of Neurological Scientists (NSNS) in Ilorin at the weekend, a professor of Medicine at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Adesola Ogunniyi, said the increase was related to prevalent stressful life and epidemic.

Professor Ogunniyi, who said that neurological disorder is a disease that affects nervous system from the brain to spinal cord, muscles and nerves, added that increasing prevalence of hypertension is a risk factor for stroke.

He also said that peoples changing ways of life and recent meningitis epidemic in northern parts of the country and infection are possible causes of neurological disorder among people.

The professor of medicine said that preventive strategy must be up to date to curb the spread, added that continuous surveillance for such diseases was disappearing.

He also said that lack of manpower had been a challenge to curb increasing rate of neurological disorder, saying that, “We don’t have enough neurologist in the country. In a population of 170 million, we only have about a hundred. It’s a better statistic in rest of the world though. We are endeavouring to train people, but it is still not enough. We need to increase manpower.

“We also have diseases that were not present here before, such as multiple sclerosis. Cases that were hitherto not documented before are being seen. We now have conditions that by now should have gone away. It was present about six decades ago. Studies have shown they have not really disappeared. For instance, an attack related to cassava consumption as being contacted in the processing of cassava, or some species of cassava that are not good to the body.

“There must be continuous surveillance and keeping of records as cases appear. We must also mentor the junior ones. Non-neurologists must be given the task to help identify new cases in communities. We know the number of neurologist is small. Also, we must stop stigma of patients with neurological disorder, e.g. conditions like epilepsy, dementia. So that people would know about it and tolerate those with such conditions. If we do this, neurological conditions would be better treated and we’ll have accurate records and we’ll be able to compete with outside world.

“For meningitis, prevention is through immunization, and public education. So we need people enlightenment and government can also assist in making health facilities user friendly. When they come to hospital, the way they are attended to, the facilities that are available to make diagnoses. Neurological science is a specialized field and you need good technology to carry out accurate diagnoses. Government can help in that.”


Source: The Tribune