It is too early to know whether the stroke unit and its new culture will have a positive impact on patient outcomes, but the early signs look promising. In other countries, patients who receive this stroke unit care are more likely to survive their stroke, return home and become independent in looking after themselves.
Alongside evaluating the impact of stroke unit care on patient outcomes in Sierra Leone, the next step is to improve access to the service. In Sierra Leone, the major barrier to accessing care is cost. Many stroke patients never make it to the hospital due to the prohibitive costs, and many, once there, cannot afford the 20 USD for a week of admission and care. Stroke units in the UK have been shown to be cost-effective; investing in them creates a healthier more productive population. There is an even greater argument to invest in stroke units in countries like Sierra Leone, where stroke rates are increasing and occur in younger working age adults. Investment should scale up coverage and access to these units, reducing admission fees and other barriers to access.