India needs more neuro-rehab centres (March 20 is World Head Injury Awareness Day)

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) India needs more dedicated neuro-rehabilitation centres as the country has the world’s highest incidence of head injuries in road accidents, a doctor said Wednesday.

In India about one lakh lives are lost every year in road accidents and over one million suffer from serious head injuries, Rajendra Prasad, senior neurosurgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital here, said on the occasion the World Head Injury Awareness Day.
“India has the rather unenviable distinction of having the highest rate of head injury in the world. More than one lakh lives are lost every year and over one million suffer from serious head injuries,” Prasad told IANS.
“Only a few neuro rehabilitation centres are there in the country. There is a urgent need for more dedicated centres for quality care,” he said.
According to Prasad, dedicated neuro rehabilitation centres will help millions of people who have traumatic brain injuries in accidents.
“The patients can undergo a neuro rehabilitation therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy that helps them in coming out of the trauma,” said Prasad.
He also said the police personnel can play a major role as they are the first to reach the scene of a road accident.
“Police personnel are the first to reach an accident site, and can save the patient from a severe traumatic brain injury and even death,” said Prasad, who is also the executive director of the Indian Head Injury Foundation (IHRF).
“They need to be trained to give the most basic care to a road accident victim. Nearly 50 percent of brain-injury deaths caused by road accidents can be reduced,” he said.
Prasad said the first hour of a brain injury is considered the ‘golden hour’ as the first responder can save the life of the victim and also prevent the person from a severe traumatic injury.
“Traumatic brain injuries range from minor to severe, sometimes leaving a patient crippled for his entire life. Apart from police personnel, we need trained paramedical staff, ambulances which would reach on time,” Prasad added.
Nearly 65 percent of road accident victims are in the age group of 15-45 years. Pedestrians and motorcyclists are the most common victims of such accidents in India.