Developing countries like India are facing a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in India. The estimated adjusted prevalence rate of stroke range, 84-262/100,000 in rural and 334-424/100,000 in urban areas. The incidence rate is 119-145/100,000 based on the recent population based studies. There is also a wide variation in case fatality rates with the highest being 42% in Kolkata. Stroke units are predominantly available in urban areas that too in private hospitals. Intravenous (IV) and intra-arterial thrombolysis (IA) are commonly used in India. In the on-going Indo USA National stroke registry the rate of IV thrombolysis is 11%. Stroke rehabilitation is not well developed in India due to lack of personnel. Organised rehabilitation services are available in the country but they are mainly in private hospitals of the cities. Even though India is a leading generic drugs producer still many people can't afford the commonly used secondary prevention drugs. As a first step the Government of India has started the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases & Stroke (NPCDCS). The government is focusing on early diagnosis, management, infrastructure, public awareness and capacity building at different levels of health care for all the non-communicable diseases including stroke. An organised effort from both the government and the private sector is needed to tackle the stroke epidemic in India.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Incidence; India; Rehabilitation; Stroke; Stroke unit.