The session not only had head injury patients and caregivers participating but also traffic police, college students along with NGO’s working for spreading awareness on head injury prevention.
Dr Rajendra Prasad, medical director, Indian Head Injury Foundation said no helmets, erratic pedestrian crossings, bad road conditions, chaotic traffic are few reasons why India has the highest rate of head injuries in the world.
“If we take a look government data, 200,000 people die of these injuries and nearly 1 million require rehabilitation services. Most of them are in the age group of 15 to 40 and 75% of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) include pedestrians, two wheeler riders and bicyclists,” said Dr Prasad.
He further revealed that only 10% of all TBIs reach hospitals within an hour. Dr Prasad discussed that there is a dire need for neurorehabilitation.
“There is a lack of rehabilitation facilities, lack of human resources, lack of finances and lack of awareness. The goal of rehabilitation should be to help TBI sufferer get back to society, employment family and community,” he said.
Dr Suresh Sankhla, a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons said the neurological society of India has been working on creating public awareness program on head injury.
He revealed that in rehabilitation care scenario in India, there is lack of trained personnel, awareness and education. “The patient overload is more than 1.5 million every year. There are only 10 comprehensive in-patient neurorehabilitation centres in the country. Rehabilitation care is expensive and unaffordable to many,” said Dr Sankhla.
He said the goal of rehabilitation care is to improve behaviour and level of function, increase independent living and higher rate of return to work. “We are giving recommendations to the government to develop integrated multidisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation services for level III centres,” said Dr Sankhla.
The head injury public forum also had a talk by Dr Caterina Pistarini, ICS Maugeri Genova from Italy who spoke about critical care management of TBI in rehabilitation perspective. She said, “Over the past twenty years, much has been learnt in critical care management of TBI. There is still considerable and wide institutional variation in the care of patients with severe TBI.”
She further said timely access to care is critically important for patients with traumatic injuries or emergency conditions.
“The current medical management of TBI patients mainly includes specialised pre-hospital care, intensive clinical care and rehabilitation,” she said.
The session concluded with a speech by Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, the founder of the Indian Head Injury Foundation. He said the need for a good rehabilitation care was realised when his son Yuvraj Shivraj Singh suffered a serious head injury during a polo match, the family was subjected to countless medical procedures, numerous remedial opinions and many tough decisions.
Seeing the state of India’s social and medical response to head injury accidents and brain trauma, the Maharaja started on a mission to build a comprehensive system for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury, and to provide neurorehabilitation to the victims of such unfortunate incidents.
The session also had a question and answer session where patients, caregivers, college students got answers to their queries answered from medical experts.