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Knowledge-Sharing Grows The Stroke Network in Egypt

When the strong lends a helping hand, the entire community of stroke-ready hospitals is made stronger.
Angels team 11 April 2022

Benha University Hospital takes their stroke care to the next level with support from Cairo’s pioneers.

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Professor Dr. Ahmed Abdelalim talks to young doctors about treating acute stroke during Stroke Awareness Day.

Beneficence is an idea that lies at the heart of the medical profession. It’s the principle that compels physicians to act for the benefit of their patients and nurses to show kindness and charity to those in their care.

But beneficences can also be bestowed between entities, and the duty to society expressed as actions taken to help others grow.  

Such a demonstration of beneficence was witnessed at an Angels-facilitated workshop held at Egypt’s Benha University Hospital, where the pioneers in stroke management in Egypt shared their knowledge and experience with residents and junior doctors taking their first steps along the stroke pathway.

Benha is the capital city of Qalyubiyya Governorate located in the Nile Delta region about an hour’s drive to the north of Cairo. Named for the ancient Greek goddess Calliope, Qalyubiyya is a veritable food basket, providing its population of 5,7 million with maize, cotton, wheat, poultry, fruits and vegetables.

For stroke care the residents of Qalyubiyya rely on the neurology department of Benha University Hospital which late in 2021 entered an auspicious new phase with the opening of a stroke unit with 12 beds dedicated to stroke patients. The event was marked by a Stroke Awareness Day, to which the hospital welcomed Professor Doctor Ahmed Abdelalim who as well as being one of Egypt’s leading stroke neurologists and professor of neurology at Cairo University, heads up the famous stroke unit at Al Qasr Al Ainy Hospital.

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From left, Angels consultants Ehab Ali and Mohamed Elrayes, Professor Dr. Ahmed Abdelalim and Professor Dr. Khaled Sallam.

The stroke unit at Al Qasr Al Ainy Hospital is the largest in Africa and the Middle East, and while no longer the region’s only holder of a WSO Angels Diamond award, it was the first to earn this distinction. The 36-bed unit provides advanced acute stroke treatment services, including neurosurgery, neurointervention, advanced neuroimaging, and neuro-rehabilitation to 1,500 to 2,000 patients per year. So when the Angels Initiative collaborated with Professor Dr. Khaled Sallam, head of neurology at Benha University Hospital, to educate young doctors about acute stroke, there was no better partner than Al Qasr Al Ainy Hospital to share their experience of overcoming challenges and provide practical, hands-on training for dealing with stroke patients.

Stroke Awareness Day at Benha University Hospital began with an overview of stroke management by Prof Dr Khaled. Next, Prof Dr Ahmed, who had earlier paid a visit to the new stroke unit, shared his positive impressions of his visit and the available facilities, and highlighted the increasingly important role the hospital will play in the lives of stroke patients in the region.

Over 90 physicians and nurses from various disciplines then participated in a highly interactive simulation workshop led by Prof Dr Ahmed, which culminated in vigorous and fruitful discussions.

The event caught the attention of the local press and made headlines in the influential daily newspaper, Al Gomhuria.

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Professor Dr. Khaled Sallam leads a workshop about the treatment of acute stroke.

Following the event, a team was appointed to register cases with the registery of stroke care quality, RES-Q, from March 2022, in order to track and highlight the new stroke unit’s progress. Necessary scientific support will continue to be provided by the Angels team in Egypt to ensure the neurology department at Benha University Hospital continues on its journey to providing stroke patients in Qalyubbiya with optimal medical treatment.

Professors Dr Khaled and Dr Ahmed confirmed their shared conviction regarding the importance of events such as these to raise awareness about stroke and improve the quality of medical services available to stroke patients. Sharing best practices among hospitals across Egypt was key to overcoming challenges faced by medical staff in providing the best possible care to the country’s approximately 200,000 stroke patients per year.

It is an approach that serves the principle of beneficence as well as the idea that when the strong lends a helping hand and empowers others to emulate its successes, the entire community of stroke-ready hospitals is made stronger.

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