Neurosurvey, tele-neurology units launched in Ch’ballapur  

A neuro epidemiological study will also be conducted after decades

Published: 13th March 2023 11:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2023 11:11 AM   |  A+A-

Stroke, brain

Image used for representation.

Express News Service

BENGALURU: India’s burden of neurological diseases is escalating. Neurological disorders like stroke, dementia, epilepsy, headache and head injuries contribute considerably to disability and stroke, are considered as the second most common cause of death. Prevention, early diagnosis along with accessible specialized treatment, can significantly reduce the burden of neurological disorders in the community.

In a first, on March 7, Nimhans and Department of Health launched two important initiatives in neurology -- Neuro Epidemiological Study In Gowribidanur - II (NEPSIG) survey at Gowribidanur, and teleneurology services to understand and enhance services for neurological disorders in the community. Both these programmes are being jointly implemented by the Karnataka Brain Health Initiative (KaBHI), Nimhans, and the Department of Health. 

The tele-neurology programme at Chikkaballapur is launched to “facilitate delivery of neurological services to patients remotely, and to improve accessibility to neurological care,” said Prof & Head, Department of Neurology, Nimhans, Suvarna Alladi. “Services will be extended to the rest of the state in the next three months,” she added.

Tele-neurology services will be provided at health and wellness centres, PHCs and Brain Health Clinics (BHCs) by leveraging existing infrastructure. “Tele-neurology services will go a long way in leveraging existing infrastructure at PHCs and also enable training of healthcare staff at various levels,” tweeted Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar. “The services will enable patients to have early specialist care with relative ease, and reduce the overall cost,” said Deputy Director, Mental Health, Dr Rajini.

KaBHI was launched last year jointly by Nimhans, under the guidance of Director, Pratima Murthy, the state government under Dr Sudhakar, in consultation with NITI Aayog to promote brain health in the community from PHCs to secondary level district hospitals and Nimhans at the tertiary level.
The pilot project of KaBHI was announced in the state budget by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in 2022, and in 2023, he declared statewide implementation of the project.

“Brain health is a critical aspect of overall health. Diseases affecting the brain are the single most important cause of disability and second biggest cause of death in the world,” said Dr Pratima Murthy. An IT platform has been developed by IIIT Bengaluru to help digitize KaBHI and facilitate monitoring, referral and efficient delivery of care. 

Speaking about the NEPSIG II survey, Prof Girish N Rao, epidemiology, Centre for Public Health, Nimhans, said the first Indian neuro-epidemiological NEPSIG-I was undertaken in 1987 by then professor, Neurology, and director, Nimhans, Gourie Devi and team, who had adapted the WHO-recommended questionnaire which was subsequently validated by neurologists from Nimhans. 

“More than three decades have passed since this landmark Indian study. Since then, the population of Gowribidanur has almost tripled and literacy rates have doubled. To understand how neurological diseases have changed over the years, we aim to undertake NEPSIG-II,” said Rao. 

“The objective of the survey is to estimate the prevalence of various neurological disorders, discover patterns and distribution, and burden faced by individual households. The survey will help us develop services that will cater to the needs of the local population,” said Assistant Prof, Neurology, Nimhans, Dr Vishwanath. 


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