What is a SCI Stroke Support Group?
A stroke can be a very isolating experience. That’s why Stroke Care International has established the Stroke Support Group. A SCI Stroke Support Group is a community resource for stroke survivors, their family members, friends and anyone else affected by stroke.
By meeting regularly members help one another face and overcome common challenges. These groups:
• Encourage individuals to share their personal experiences
• Inspire everyone involved in the life of a stroke survivor to move forward from the experience and find meaning in life
• Provide an environment where stroke survivors and caregivers can make friends and socialize.
The SCI Stroke Support Groups offer community outreach, educational programs, social opportunities, and encourage discussion.
Refreshments are offered at each meeting.
Community-based stroke support groups can address a number of needs by:
• Coordinating links between the health care system and community support services
• Raising awareness amongst stroke survivors and caregivers about community resources
• Promoting a consistent level of support at all stages of stroke recovery
• Providing support during transition to post-stroke roles
• Providing wellness focused activities in community settings that support stroke survivors and family members on a short or long term basis
• Supporting system sustainability by leveraging public, private and non-profit sources of funding.
Target beneficiaries:
• General public
• Health care workers.
• Stroke survivors.
• Relatives of stroke survivors.
Project team overview
Alongside the project founder Gloria Ekeng is a multi-disciplinary team of seasoned stroke researchers and experts in stroke management including a Neurophysiotherapist, Neurosurgeon, Neurologist and Nurse with expertise in stroke management. Senior members of the team are seasoned teachers and clinicians in the field of stroke management who have presented research papers in many academic forums and talked at conferences, workshops and seminars worldwide. They have contributed publications to several high profile peer-review journals in the field of stroke.
For example:
One of the team (the Neurophysiotherapist) has just been awarded a postdoctoral research fellow in the field of stroke research at the University of Pretoria in South Africa where he will be helping the South African government in the field of stroke rehabilitation and neurosciences. He holds a doctorate in the field of neurophysiotherapy. He is a consultant neurology and mental health physiotherapist; a lecturer in neuro-rehabilitation at the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and is a member of the Stroke Society of Nigeria, World Stroke Society, World Congress of Neurologist, World Cerebral Palsy Association, Society for the Study of Pain in Nigeria, Nigeria-Florida Neurosciences Partnership and many other professional bodies. He is presently working on the development of predictive model for functional recovery after stroke. He was a African Union National Award nominee for his contribution in stroke research and management. He is the founder and coordinator of Life-Care Neuro-Rehabilitation and Wellness Network (LCNRWN), a global neuro-rehabilitation initiative. For over five years he has been training Nigerians in the field of neuro-rehabilitation and appropriate treatment strategies. He is also a partner with many neuro-rehabilitation hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States and India.
Implementation – the next steps
The exact process of implementation is still being refined. We plan to launch a publicity campaign around World Stroke Day in October 2013 in key cities in Nigeria. This will be followed by series of pilot workshops to healthcare professionals in selected regions with the on-going establishment of Stroke Support Groups in those areas. Following the pilot training programme and first few meetings of the Stroke Support Groups we will then be looking to roll out the programme using a team of trainers taken from the community to replicate the programme to neighbouring areas.
Whether these trainers are volunteers or professionals will depend on the funding made available and the local systems. The speed of the roll out programme and the areas selected for the pilots will also depend on where there is a match between funding/sponsorship and local community access/suitability. Further work to establish the answers to these questions will be conducted over the coming months.
Currently we are in the process of completing an audio visual documentary programme on stroke in Nigeria. Our aim is to get airtime on as many television and radio stations in Nigeria as possible to enlighten the public on the incidence of STROKE. We envision that this video will be a vital tool in spreading the programme – especially to more rural communities.
Where the future lies…
1. We want the Stroke Support Groups to be held nationally. Presently, we are planning to sell the idea to the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy National Body to form a Stroke Association. Under a national umbrella other stroke support groups will be able to affiliate to the Association and tap into funding from corporate bodies.
2. We also plan to advocate for supportive healthcare for disabled survivors in an area of reduced healthcare costs. These we know can only be achieved with serious advocacy and lobbying at the national level particularly at the House of Assembly. We hope that in the near future we will be able to move for amendments of the healthcare bill for free health care for people living with long term conditions and disability.
3. We have no partners at present but hope to partner with same minded organisations.