Stroke is an emergency in any language

October 05, 2020
Stroke Foundation is set to launch a new F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) signs of stroke awareness campaign in-language, targeting our culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The new campaign will target eight language groups; Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Arabic, Cantonese, Hindi and Korean. Language groups were chosen as they were identified as most vulnerable to stroke and in need of in-language information.

Stroke Foundation Executive Director Marketing John De Rango said the new campaign was an important step forward in taking public health messages to non-English speaking households.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the importance of accessible health information for all Australians,’’ Mr De Rango said.

“We are a multicultural country, home to the world’s oldest continuous cultures, as well as Australians who identify with more than 270 ancestries.

“Millions of Australians speak a language other than English at home and it is time public health messaging reflected this. We must do more to ensure language is not a barrier to health care.”

A Stroke Foundation survey, facilitated by Colmar Brunton, found 32 percent of households where languages other than English were spoken did not know a sign of stroke. This compared to 10 percent of English-speaking households not recognising one of the signs of stroke.

Bill Gasiamis,46, featured in the campaign is encouraging everyone to learn the signs of stroke.

Bill suffered a stroke in 2012 and ignored the stroke signs for seven days before going to the hospital. By this time, the entire left side of his body was numb and he couldn’t walk properly. Eight years on, Bill’s recovery has come a long way, but he still battles fatigue and left side weakness.

“At the time of my stroke I was not aware of the F.A.S.T. signs to look out for. Had I known, I would have called triple zero (000) at the first sign to receive prompt medical treatment, which could have made a big difference in my recovery,” Bill said.

“Anything we can do to raise awareness of the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke is a positive step. It could save a life.”

John De Rango said recognising the signs of stroke and getting to hospital quickly was vital to ensuring better stroke outcomes.

“When a stroke strikes the brain, it kills up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute, but treatment can stop this damage. Time saved in calling an ambulance and accessing treatment for stroke is brain saved.

“Stroke can strike anyone of any age, even babies and children can have strokes.”

Stroke Foundation’s in-language F.A.S.T. signs of stroke awareness campaign is part of a broader consumer awareness and education program funded by the Australian Government. It involves translated marketing materials across print, digital and radio as well as online and in-person community talks. In addition to targeting eight vulnerable language groups, Stroke Foundation will also deliverer activities in vulnerable regional communities.

The F.A.S.T. test is a simple way we can all learn and remember the signs of stroke:

· Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

· Arms: Can they lift both arms?

· Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

· Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call triple zero (000) straight away.